With the Jubilee marking 70 years on the throne for the Queen, YouGov looks at the British public’s attitude to the monarchy: past, present and future
This week, the Queen will become the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, after 70 years on the throne. Britons see the Queen in a very favourable light, and tend to be supportive of the institution of the monarchy in general: but what will the future look like for the royal family?
Should Britain continue to have a monarchy?
Six in 10 Britons (62%) think Britain should continue to have a monarchy in the future, with only 22% saying the country should move to having an elected head of state instead.
More than eight in 10 (84%) Conservative voters and 77% of Britons aged 65 and older say the monarchy should continue, while just 9% and 13% respectively say we should have an elected head of state instead. Conversely, Labour voters are 48% in favour of a monarchy and 37% in favour of a head of state, and 18 to 24-year-olds are even more split: 33% favour a monarchy and 31% a head of state.
While the majority of Britons have consistently been in favour of continuing the monarchy, there has been a decline over the last decade, from a high of 75% in favour of a monarchy in July 2012, to 62% now.
While support amongst the general public remains generally high, young people have lost favour in a monarchical system over the last decade. In 2011, when YouGov first started tracking the issue, 59% of 18 to 24-year-olds thought the monarchy should continue in Britain, compared to just 33% today.
Is the institution of the monarchy good or bad for Britain?
A majority of Britons (56%) feel that the institution of the monarchy is good for Britain, although this percentage has also fallen since December 2012, when 73% of the public saw the monarchy as a good thing for the country.
Eight in 10 Conservative voters (80%) see the monarchy as being good for Britain, compared to 44% of Labour voters. Three-quarters of Britons aged 65 and older (74%) say the same, compared to just 24% of 18 to 24-year-olds.
Will Britain still have a monarchy in 100 years’ time? Britons are split
Over the past decade, there has been a shift in opinion about what the monarchy will look like in the future.
Britons are now split on whether the country will still have a monarchy in 100 years’ time, with 39% saying the institution will still be around in a century, and 41% saying it will not. In 2011, when YouGov first started tracking the issue, two-thirds of Britons said they thought there would still be a monarch in 100 years’ time, while just 24% said there would not be one. As recently as 2015 – the last time this question was asked – Britons still had confidence in the longevity of the monarchy, with 62% expecting it to last another century.
Younger and older Britons alike have become less convinced that there will still be a monarch in 100 years’ time. In 2011, 67% of 18 to 24-year-olds thought there would definitely or probably still be a monarch in 100 years, compared to 39% today. Similarly, 57% of Britons aged 65 and older thought the monarchy would still be around in 100 years’ time in 2011, compared to just 33% today.
Today, those Britons who think that the country should remain a monarchy are more confident that Britain will still have a king or queen in 100 years: 52% say we will still have a monarchy, while 31% think we will not. Seven in 10 of those who believe we should move to having an elected head of state say we will not have a monarchy in 100 years (69%), while just 23% think we will.
The majority of Britons feel that the royal family is less important to the country now than in 1952
While Britons do think that the monarchy should continue, the public think the royal family is less important to the country now than it was when the Queen ascended the throne in 1952.
Today, 56% of Britons think the royal family has become less important over the Queen’s reign, while 11% think it is more important and 21% think there has been no change. In 2012, the results were almost identical – 53% said less important, 13% more important, 28% no change.
It appears, however, that the British public’s perception of the importance of the monarchy is affected by proximity to a Jubilee: in 2011, when YouGov first started tracking the issue, 71% saw the monarchy as being less important to Britain than they were in 1952.
Even those who feel that the monarchy should continue in Britain are agreed that the royal family play less of an important role today than they did 70 years ago (50%), while just 16% see them as more important and 27% think there has been no change. Eight in 10 (83%) of people who think the country should elect a head of state feel that the importance of the royals has diminished since 1952.
Are Britons still proud of the monarchy?
The years since the Diamond Jubilee have been rocky for the royal family. Britons have become more embarrassed of the monarchy over the last decade: one in six (18%) now say they are embarrassed of the Crown, compared to just 8% in 2012. Similarly, while close to half (47%) say they are proud of the monarchy today, this is a drop from 57% who said they were proud of the monarchy in 2012.
Seven in 10 Conservative voters (70%) say they are proud of the monarchy, while Labour voters are split: 34% say they are proud of the monarchy, 28% embarrassed, and 35% neither.
Similarly, six in 10 Britons aged 65 and older (61%) are proud of the Crown: that’s compared to just 23% of Britons aged 18-24 who say they are proud of the monarchy, 28% who are embarrassed and 30% who are neither proud nor embarrassed.
Is the royal family good value for money?
The royal family is funded by the ‘Sovereign Grant’ (formerly the ‘Civil List’), with the Queen normally receiving 15% of the Crown Estate profits and the rest going to the government. In 2020/21, the Crown Estate generated £269m in profit.
A majority of the public (55%) think that the royal family are good value for money, with 30% saying they are bad value for money. This figure has declined since the Diamond Jubilee, however, when close to two-thirds (64%) saw the royal family as being good value for money.
Conservative voters see the royal family as good value for money (75%), while Labour are split: 41% say they are good value, and 44% see them as bad value. Similarly, while 69% of Britons aged 65 and older see the royals as good value for money, just 34% of 18 to 24-year-olds feel the same, and 36% of younger Britons see them as not being good value for money.
Eight in 10 of those who think the monarchy should continue in Britain (80%) think the royal family are good value for money, with just 10% saying they are bad value. Conversely, just 13% of those who think the country should have a head of state think the royal family are good value for money, while 79% say they are bad value.