In two minds over Prince Andrew

March 11, 2011, 8:51 PM GMT+0

As trade envoy Prince Andrew faces criticism for his dealings with dubious international figures, British opinion is ambivalent over whether he is an asset or a liability to the Royal Family, and while more people think he does a ‘bad job’ than a ‘good one’, most say they aren’t sure how useful the Prince’s position is, and are undecided over whether he should stand down.

  • 29% see Prince Andrew as a liability for the monarchy
  • 24% conversely view him as an asset to his family
  • But a considerable 31% think ‘neither’
  • 30% said they think the Prince does a ‘bad job’ as trade envoy
  • Compared to 18% who feel he does a ‘good job’
  • While a significant 52% say they ‘aren’t sure’ whether he does a good or bad job
  • And while 31% feel that Prince Andrew’s royal status ‘probably helps close deals and make a positive contribution to the country’s trade’, a similar 33% feels that Andrew ‘doesn’t contribute much’ and ‘is just using his role to live the high life’
  • Asked whether the Prince should stand down, the picture is alike, with 31% saying yes, and 30% saying no

Our panellists’ judgements of the Prince depended, to some extent, on their age

  • 41% of the over 60s thought Prince Andrew was a liability for the royal family
  • Compared to just 19% of those aged 18-24 who felt the same way

Prince Andrew’s suitability for the position of British trade envoy, which he currently occupies, have come under scrutiny in the press due to a number of connections with inappropriate figures. The Prince has been linked with highly contested Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, as well as a leading member of the former Tunisian regime and convicted child sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Labour MP and former office minister, Chris Bryant, called for Prince Andrew’s role as UK trade envoy to be ended, explaining, ‘I am afraid he has now just become a national embarrassment’.

However, there was still support for the Prince, with Foreign Secretary William Hague saying that he has done ‘a lot of good for the UK’. Prince Andrew has represented British business interests since 2001 and is not paid for his role, although he does receive travel expenses.