Rise in young Britons wanting elected head of state, poll shows

·2-min read

A growing number of young Britons are now in favour of an elected head of state, rather than a monarchy, a new poll has found.

Some 41% of 18-24-year-olds would prefer to ditch a king or queen in the future for a representative voted in by the people, while 31% still back the continuation of the monarchy, according to YouGov.

The research showed that support for an elected head of state has swollen among young adults over the past two years.

Trooping the Colour
The royal family on the Palace balcony (Victoria Jones/PA)

It has overtaken the number of 18-24 years old backing the monarchy for the first time since YouGov has been asking the question.

Those who said they would opt for an elected head of state has grown from 26% in 2019 to 37% in 2020 and then to 41% in 2021, a total jump of 15% points.

The royal family has faced troubled times in recent years, with the Duke of York quitting royal duties over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2019, and then fallout from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Megxit departure in 2020 and their controversial Oprah Winfrey interview this year.

The Queen, who has reigned for 69 years, is preparing to mark her Platinum Jubilee next year and has served as a symbol of stability for the nation.

Commonwealth Day 2019
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Duke of York have sparked royal controversies in recent years (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

But support for the monarchy among young adults appears to have soured.

It has fallen from 46% in 2019 to 40% in 2020 and 31% in 2021, a decline of 15% points.

But the country still backs the Queen and her heirs overall with three in five people (61%) supporting the monarchy, while only 24% would opt for an elected head of state.

Older age groups remain consistently in favour of a having a monarchy, with seven in 10 of 50-64 year olds (70%) still backing the institution, compared to 71% in 2019.

For those aged 65 and above, 81% want the monarchy to carry on, while in 2019 the figure was 82%.

Opinions among people aged 25 to 49 have only shifted slightly, with more than half (53%) now in favour of retaining a sovereign as head of state – down from 58%.

About a quarter (27%) would prefer an elected state head, up four points.

YouGov surveyed 4,870 GB adults in 2019, 3,127 GB adults in 2020, and 4,997 GB adults in 2021.

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