25 years after her death, Princess Diana is more popular than King Charles, and the monarchy

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 24, 2022, 9:46 AM GMT+0

Even the youngest adults, none of whom were born until after she died, are just as likely to have a positive view of Diana as their elders

The fifth season of hit royal drama The Crown launched last week, with this season focussing heavily on the tumultuous relationship between Princess Diana and the then Prince Charles.

To see how the late Princess’s reputation has held up over the years, we included Diana on the latest YouGov royal favourability tracker. The results show that, more than a quarter of a century after her death, Princess Diana’s legacy remains strong, and she is still more popular than her former husband and the monarchy in general.

Seven in ten Britons (72%) have a positive view of Princess Diana, including 34% who have a “very positive” opinion.

By contrast, two thirds (67%) have a positive view of King Charles, and 60% have a favourable opinion of the institution of the monarchy in general. Only a quarter (25%) have a “very” positive view of Charles, and just 20% say the same of the monarchy.

While Princess Diana’s ratings are overwhelmingly positive among all age groups, those aged 50 and above are more likely to take a negative view of her, at 25-26%, compared to 13% of 25-49 year olds and 9% of 18-24 year olds. Those aged 25-49 are the most likely to have a positive opinion of Princess Diana, at 79%.

Seven in ten 18-24 year olds (70%) also have a positive view of Diana, but they are more likely than other age groups to say “don’t know”, at 21%. While on the face of it this may be unsurprising, as even the oldest amongst this age group would not be born until a few months after her death, this (lack of) awareness figure is actually the same as it is for the other top royals, demonstrating how far-reaching the late Princess’s legacy has proven.

Diana’s eldest son remains the most popular royal

Prince William continues to be the most popular member of the royal family, with 81% holding a positive opinion of him (including 45% with a “very positive” view). Catherine, Princess of Wales is not far behind, on 75%. In both cases, these figures are virtually unchanged from the previous survey in late September.

Likewise, having surged following his ascension to King, Charles’ favourability ratings have now stabilised, with little difference between this survey and September’s.

By contrast, Prince Harry’s popularity has dipped slightly once again, having seen a 15pt uptick following the death of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth. Only four in ten (39%) have a favourable view of the Duke of Sussex, down six points since September. The number of people holding an unfavourable view has increased by the same amount in that time, to 52%.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex continues to be less popular than her husband, with only 28% liking her, but this figure is effectively unchanged since September.

As ever, none can match Prince Andrew’s rock bottom unpopularity. Just 6% have a positive opinion of the Duke of York, while 85% have an unpopular opinion (including fully 67% who take a “very negative” view of him).

See the full results here

Photo: Getty