How have Britons reacted to Queen Elizabeth II’s death?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
September 13, 2022, 11:00 AM GMT+0

Three quarters are upset, with more than two in five having shed a tear

With Queen Elizabeth II passing away on Thursday at the age of 96, after 70 years on the throne, a new YouGov/Times survey takes the first look at how it has affected Britons, and how they rate her reign now that it has come to an end.

Three quarters of Britons (76%) say they were upset at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, including half who said they were “very” (22%) or “fairly” (25%) upset. One in five (22%) say they weren’t upset at all. A separate YouGov survey found that 44% of Britons say they cried, became teary or welled up at the news Her Majesty had died.

Monday next week has been marked as a Bank Holiday for collective mourning, which 86% of Britons think is a good idea. Four in ten Britons (40%) believe the nation’s response to the Queen’s passing will bring us closer together. A similar number (41%) think it will have no effect, with only 9% thinking it will prove divisive.

Her Majesty made visits to all corners of the UK, and beyond. All told, three in ten British adults (29%) say that they personally saw or met Queen Elizabeth II at some point during their life – more still will have seen who her have since passed away. Now that the Queen herself has departed, 4% plan to make the trip to London visit her as she lies in state in Westminster.

How do Britons judge Queen Elizabeth II’s time as monarch?

For many Britons, the Queen’s death will mark the end of an era. Fully 87% of Britons say they think that history will regard Queen Elizabeth II as one of Britain’s greatest monarchs, with most people (59%) saying that she changed the monarchy for the better.

The vast majority of people (85%) believe that Queen Elizabeth II was good for Britain, including 63% who think she was “very good” for the realm. Just 6% say she was bad for the country.

As Britain enters a new era, headed by Charles III, support for having a monarchy remains high, at 64%. This is three times the number who oppose Britain’s monarchical system (21%), although it is down from the three quarters (75%) who supported the monarchy ten years ago, at the time of the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Young people are less likely to support Britain having a monarchy, a trend that has been growing for some time now. Currently only four in ten 18-24 year olds (40%) back the country being ruled by royals, with 29% opposed. By contrast, as many as 84% of those aged 65 and over support keeping the monarchy.