The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s standing with the public has fallen during lockdown and its aftermath, according a new poll.
Harry and Meghan have been busy establishing a new life in America after stepping down as working royals, but a YouGov survey has found positive opinion of them has dropped while it has increased for the Queen and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
During the past few months, the couple have been speaking out on issues like online hate speech, gender politics and the Black Lives Matter movement, while signing a lucrative Netflix deal rumoured to be worth £150 million and setting up their Archewell charitable organisation.
The survey also found the public believe William and Kate’s influence on the royal family over the next decade will far outweigh that of Harry and Meghan and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
And a majority thought Charles should write to Government ministers on topics he felt strongly about like the environment.
When questioned in early October about whether they had a “positive or negative opinion” about members of the monarchy, only 48% said they felt positive about the duke, compared to 55% of those quizzed by YouGov in March at the start of lockdown.
Harry’s negative rating had risen to 47%, compared to 35% in March, and for Meghan it stood at 59% – a significant increase on the 46% recorded seven months ago.
Only 33% of the 1,626 people question had a positive opinion of the American ex-actress, compared to 38% in March.
Favourable public opinion about the couple has dropped in past 12 months according to YouGov, falling significantly after they said in early January they wanted to step back as senior members of the royal family and work to become financially independent.
Harry’s positive rating was 71% in October last year, but fell to 55% days after his bombshell announcement, while Meghan’s rating also dropped, from 55% to 38%, over the same period.
During the pandemic crisis the Queen made two important televised addresses to the nation and William and Kate have carried out events in support of businesses as society re-opened or thanked frontline and key workers, as did Charles and Camilla.
When the public were asked if they had a positive opinion of the Queen, 83% said they did, up on the March figure of 79%, while 80% felt favourably about William and 76% about Kate – an increase for the couple.
Charles’ positive rating remained the same at 59%, while for Camilla it increased slightly to 44%.
With Harry and Meghan removed from British life, the future of the monarchy in the decades ahead appears to lie with his older brother William and wife Kate.
The Cambridges are likely to take on further official duties in their role supporting the Queen, who celebrated her 94th birthday in April.
This view is shared by many of those polled with 68% believing William and Kate would have the most influence on the royal family over the next decade, while only 12% said Charles and Camilla and 7% Meghan and Harry.
In the past, Charles has written what have been dubbed “black spider memos” to Government minister on issues like the environment, and 63% of those polled thought it “appropriate” he contact politicians on “policy issues”, while 24% disagreed.
When asked who should succeed the Queen, opinion favoured William with 41% saying he should be the next monarch, compared to 37% for Charles.
The poll found 67% of those questioned believed the UK should continue with a constitutional monarchy, while 21% wanted an elected head of state.