One year into King Charles's reign, how do Britons feel about the monarchy?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
September 04, 2023, 9:07 AM GMT+0

Most still support the institution, although younger people far less so

On 8 September, the UK marks one year since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, and the first year of King Charles III’s reign.

At this milestone, a new YouGov tracker survey shows the latest public opinion towards the monarchy and royal family.

Public attitudes continue to align with those from previous surveys, with the results showing a general positivity towards the monarchy at a national level but a remarkable difference between generations.

Do Britons think the UK should continue to have a monarchy?

Currently, 62% of Britons say the UK should continue to have a monarchy, with 26% saying the country should have an elected head of state instead. A further 11% are unsure.

These figures are consistent with our most recent few polls, with support for the monarchy having previously experienced a brief bounce to 67% in the immediate aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

However, the youngest Britons are divided on whether or not to keep the monarchy – as they have been since 2020. Currently, just 37% of 18-24 year olds want to Britain to remain a monarchy, while 40% would prefer an elected head of state.

By contrast, most people in older age groups support staying a monarchy, including 80% of the over-65s.

It should be noted, however, that those who want to keep the UK a monarchy are more likely to say they feel strongly about this than those who want the country to become a republic (71% vs 50%). This is, again, a consistent finding with previous polling.

Do Britons think the monarchy is good for the country?

Most people (58%) think the institution of the monarchy is good for Britain. Only 21% consider it bad for the country, while 21% say it is neither good nor bad. Another 11% are unsure.

Again, these figures are consistent with how they have been over our polling since 2022, with a slight bounce for “good for Britain” in the wake of the Queens death, although this was only to 62%.

The youngest Britons disagree with the majority view, however. Only 30% of 18-24 year olds say that the monarchy is good for Britain; the same number think it is bad for the country, and 27% say it is neither good nor bad.

By contrast, three quarters of the over-65s (77%) believe the monarchy is good for Britain.

Do Britons think the royal family are good value for money?

The public again tend to see the royal family as being worth the money they receive. Half (53%) think they are good value for money, compared to 34% who say they are bad value.

The generations are very split, however. Fully three quarters of the over-65s say that the royals are good value for money. Among 18-24 year olds, just 34% agree – in fact, almost half (47%) say they are bad value.

Are Britons proud of, or embarrassed by, the monarchy?

The public tend to be proud of the monarchy – 48% say so, compared to only 19% for find them embarrassing. A further 30% say they are neither proud of, nor embarrassed by, the monarchy, while 3% answered ‘don’t know’.

Young and old, again, take very different views. The large majority of the oldest Britons (64% of those aged 65 and above) say they are proud of the monarchy, but just 25% of 18-24 year olds say the same. Instead, these younger Britons are split between saying that they are neither proud nor embarrassed (34%) or actively embarrassed (33%).

Do Britons think King Charles is doing a good job?

Most Britons think the king is doing a good job (59%), compared to only 17% who say he is doing a bad job.

Again, these results are broadly in line with recent trends, with the number of people saying Charles is doing a good job having shot up to 63% upon Queen Elizabeth II’s death, and all subsequent polls giving figures in the 58-60% range.

Royal favourability ratings

One year into his reign, 60% of Britons have a favourable view of King Charles III, compared to 32% who have a negative view.

Prince William, Princess Anne, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, are the most popular royals, with 72-74% of Britons holding a positive view of them.

Prince Andrew continues to feature at the very bottom of the tables, with a mere 6% of Britons saying they feel positively about him.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, also continue to be unpopular, with only 31% saying they have a favourable view of the former and 24% the latter.

As with all our other royal questions, younger Britons take a more negative view of individual members of the royal family. Indeed, 18-24 year olds actually have net negative opinion of King Charles, with 52% disapproving of him compared to 28% who hold a positive view (giving a net score of -24).

Prince Harry and Meghan prove to be the exception, with opinion of these royals being more negative the older people are, which has been the case ever since the couple announced they would be stepping back from royal duties; prior to this, Prince Harry’s ratings had matched those of brother William.

By contrast, Prince William and Kate are overall positive with all age groups.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty