Prince William, Princess Anne and Kate the most popular royals, poll suggests

Around two thirds of Britons still support the monarchy - but exclusive Sky News/Ipsos polling shows varying opinion between age groups and across different communities.

As recently as 2018, Prince of Wales, Charles was one of the least popular members of the Royal Family. But since then, support for the King has risen steadily - and he is now fourth on the list.

His personal popularity has now just overtaken that of the royal family in general, although the most popular royals are Princess Anne and the Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate.

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It represents a significant change in the public perception of the King. In 2018, he had a net popularity rating of +3%. In March 2022 his rating was +18%. The latest poll, from April 2023, shows his net favourability - the difference between the number of people who like him and those who dislike him - increased substantially to +31%.

The poll, conducted on 31 March and 1 April, found Prince Andrew was by far the least popular, with a rating of -55%.

He stepped down from public duties in 2020 following a TV interview over his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Harry and Meghan, who have had an increasingly tense relationship with the institution, are also viewed negatively, at -22% and -27% respectively.

Together, these three are the only members of the Royal Family who have a negative approval rating overall.

Dr Ed Owens, royal historian and author of Family Firm, told Sky News: "It's not particularly surprising that King Charles's opinion poll ratings have steadily increased over the last few years.

"He's become more visible. He's championing popular causes. And he's got this likeable sort of grandfatherly persona.

"There's obviously nothing like the level of enthusiasm or optimism for Charles III as there was Elizabeth II at the start of her reign. That is significant. But nevertheless, he seems to be doing okay.

"That's not to suggest that the job is done. Nothing like it."

Continuing support for a monarchy

The monarchy has been through a turbulent period of change in recent years following a string of controversies and public fallouts, the Queen's death, and the first change in monarch in 70 years.

This may have some bearing on the most recent polling which shows a new high of a quarter of people favouring Britain becoming a republic.

Nevertheless, support for a monarchy is remarkably resilient. In a series of polls conducted by Ipsos between 1993 and 2016, monarchist sentiment mostly fluctuated at around two thirds to three quarters in favour.

In 2012, support for the monarchy reached its highest level at 80% and 79% later in the same year. This was around the time of William and Kate's wedding, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and the London Olympics.

However, the latest polls do indicate a notable decline on one key measure - with net support for the monarchy falling to +40%.

This is lower than during even some of the toughest years for the Royal Family in the 1990s, following the collapse of the marriages of Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Princess Anne, and the fire that destroyed much of Windsor Castle.

After a gap between polls from 2016 to 2021, monarchist support had fallen from 76% to 60%, its lowest point over the period recorded.

The latest poll shows a slight rebound to 65%, and at close to two thirds this still represents a strong majority support in favour of maintaining the monarchy.

Generational dividing lines

The new king is seen more favourably than unfavourably by older generations; Gen X (people aged around 42-58), and Baby Boomers (people aged around 59-77).

More than two thirds of Baby Boomers have a more favourable view of the King and almost half of Baby Boomers have a positive view of the Queen Consort, even though she only had a net favourability rating of 8% among the public overall.

By comparison a lower proportion of younger generations, Gen Z (currently aged around 11-26, although respondents were aged over 18) and Millennials (aged around 27-40), viewed the King and Queen Consort favourably.

Overall, the public appears to have a strongly negative view of Prince Harry and Meghan.

The polling, which took place just months after The Duke of Sussex's autobiography Spare hit the shelves and Harry and Meghan's Netflix documentary, suggests younger generations tend to have better views of the couple.

A third of Gen Z and two fifths of Millennials viewed Harry favourably and more than a third of both generations viewed Meghan favourably.

"It's clear that for the monarchy, demonstrating their relevance to younger generations is going to be crucial," says Gideon Skinner, head of politics research in public affairs at Ipsos.

"Still broadly younger people are more monarchist than republican, but the gap is much closer amongst young people than it is amongst older people. And you can see that across a whole range of the measures that we ask."

He added: "You can see this clear age gap. And while to some extent that's always been the case, there are some signs that it's particularly an issue now in terms of views among younger people.

"That makes this upcoming coronation potentially an important time for the monarchy especially in terms of trying to reach out to younger generations and embed itself with younger generations."

An expensive luxury the country cannot afford?

Another vulnerable point for the monarchy is the public's perception of whether they provide value for money, especially during the cost-of-living crisis.

More than half (54%) of people believed the Royal Family receives too much money.

This sentiment was much higher for people in Scotland and London.

Trends in polling in Scotland on the monarchy have generally shown that their attitudes "are more lukewarm", says Gideon Skinner.

Two thirds of Scots believe the Royals should not receive as much money as they do and for Londoners this was 62%.

People in the south of England were the least likely to say that the Royal Family should not receive as much money as it does, at 47%.

How are people celebrating the coronation?

Regional differences can also be seen in how people are planning to celebrate the coronation.

Overall, two in three people are planning to celebrate the coronation in some way.

Two fifths (41%) of people from Scotland said that they will not be celebrating the King's coronation in any way.

This is 12 percentage points higher than the 29% of people who said that they would not be celebrating the coronation throughout Britain general.

Two fifths of people said that they would watch coronation related events on television.

People are also planning to take part in common traditions for national events with 13% of people saying they were very likely to go to the pub, put up bunting and sing the national anthem.

People from ethnic minority groups are more divided on their feelings towards monarchy

Two fifths of white respondents said they were "more proud" of what the monarchy represents, almost three times higher than the number of those who described themselves as "more embarrassed" that a monarchy is still in place.

Some had more mixed feelings, with 16% saying they were "both proud and embarrassed", while the rest had no strong feelings either way.

In contrast, respondents from ethnic minorities were more likely to say they felt "more embarrassed" by the continuation of the monarchy than white respondents.

This group was more split on attitudes overall, with a roughly equal number saying they were "more embarrassed", "more proud" or "both proud and embarrassed" of the monarchy. The most common response at 29% was "neither proud nor embarrassed", suggesting greater ambivalence to the issue among these communities.

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The Royal Family has struggled with questions around its history of colonialism and been subject to complaints of institutional racism in recent years.

Of the monarchy's history with empire, Dr Owens said: "The fact that this monarchy was for many years the symbolic centrepiece of empire, and empire building took place at the bequest and in the name of the crown.

"Now, people are more sensitive to that than ever."

He added: "And I think a symbol that is hierarchical, that carries with it elite overtones of the past, a symbol that I think for other reasons has sometimes struggled to connect with that younger generation.

"I think it does find itself in a period of difficulty."

The Ipsos/Sky News poll was carried out in three stages.

1,004 adults aged 18+ were interviewed by telephone from 22-29 March.

1,079 adults aged 18-75 were interviewed online from 31 March 1 April.

2,000 adults aged 18-75 were interviewed online from 12-13 April.

The data is weighted to reflect the UK's population.

All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.

The full results can be found here.

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