Prince Harry’s popularity falls further as ‘Spare’ hits the shelves

Joanna MorrisData Journalist
Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
January 12, 2023, 10:00 AM GMT+0

Four in ten Britons say the motivation behind the book’s release is to make money

The popularity of Prince Harry has tumbled further in the eyes of the British public as the royal’s tell-all book ‘Spare’ is launched.

The release of the controversial book and the round of interviews to promote it has ensured Prince Harry has been firmly in the limelight this week.

One in five Britons (21%) believe the main motivation behind the release of Spare is for the prince to “tell his side of the story” – but around twice as many (41%) believe it’s to make money.

As the book continues to make headlines with its series of dramatic revelations about the royal family, YouGov’s royal favourability tracker finds just a quarter of Britons (24%) now think positively of Prince Harry, while 68% have a negative opinion – this gives him his lowest ever favourability rating of -44, down from -38 last week, which had been his previous record low.

In fact, Prince Harry and wife Meghan are now so disliked by older Britons that their popularity ratings are worse than Prince Andrew’s among the over-65s. While 60% of the oldest generation have a “very” negative view of Prince Andrew, that rises to 69% for Meghan and 73% for Prince Harry.

Positivity scores for all other royal figures, and the institution of the monarchy in general, remain effectively the same, with the exception of Camilla, who has seen a four-point decrease in the number holding a positive view of her (to 46%).

Nevertheless, the popularity of Prince William and wife Catherine is down over the longer term, with their figures the lowest recorded to date.

All the royal rowing means that Princess Anne – who has escaped the drama – is now the most popular major royal in the UK. Seven in ten hold a positive view of her (72%), and while this is a similar figure to Prince William (70%) and Catherine (68%), she is disliked by fewer people, giving her a higher net score of +59 to the Prince of Wales’s +49 and the Princess of Wales’s +50.

In a new addition to our tracker, 59% of the public say they hold a positive opinion of the family and 34% a negative one.

But young people aged 18 to 24 are almost three times as likely as those aged 65 and over to think negatively of the royals, by 58% to 21%.

One in five Britons are now embarrassed of the monarchy

The royal psychodrama being fought out in the pages of the press has clearly been awkward for some people, with the number of people who say they’re embarrassed of the monarchy rising from 15% to 21% since September.

At the same time, the proportion of British people who say they’re proud of the British monarchy has fallen from 55% in September to 43% this week.

Again, those aged between 18 and 24 are significantly more likely to be embarrassed than their elders – 35% say they’re a little or very embarrassed, compared to just 11% of 65 and overs.

Britons are still just as likely to think the monarchy is good for Britain, and to want to keep it

While the monarchy might be more embarrassing than it has been previously, about the same number of people think that the monarchy is good for Britain (59%) as did so in September last year (62%). Likewise, the number of Britons who want to keep the monarchy, rather than replacing it with an elected head of state, remains largely unchanged (64%, having been 67% in September).

People are, however, slightly less likely than they were to think the royal family are good value for money, falling from 62% last year to 55% now. The number saying they are bad value for money has increased from 25% to 32%.

Britons are also somewhat less convinced that the country will still have a monarch in 100 years’ time, with the number thinking it “definitely” will falling from 18% to 12%, although the number who think there will “probably” still be a king or queen in 100 years remains about the same as it was (35%).

See the latest results here and the tracker results here

Photo: Getty