How do people want the future of the Royal family to look?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
December 03, 2020, 3:53 PM UTC

Brits want the monarchy to continue but are split about succession to the throne after Queen Elizabeth II

Following our recent update to our Royal Family favourability trackers, YouGov also asked the British public whether the monarchy should continue, and what they think the future of the family should look like.

Is the monarchy important to Britons? 

Two thirds of Britons (67%, +4 since March) say that Britain should keep its monarchy, while only 21% would prefer that the country have an elected head of state.

Preference for the monarchy is higher among older adults, with 84% of over 65s choosing a monarch over an elected head of state. While younger adults – those aged 18-24 – still favour the monarchy, this rate is much reduced. Only half as many (42%) would keep having kings and queens, with a third (34%) preferring an elected official as head of state.

The monarch is seen as the symbol of the nation, and have been considered to have a vital role in holding Britons together during tough times. This still seems to be the case, with more Britons now saying that the Queen plays an important role at times of national crisis than did so before the COVID-19 pandemic.  Over six in ten adults (63%) say the Queen plays an important role in times of national instability, +7 points since November 2019.

There is a much greater split between age brackets on this topic however; a plurality of younger adults (48% of adults aged 18 to 24) say that actually the Queen does not play an important role during times of crisis.

Britons aged 50 and above take the opposite view: 74-78% say the Queen does indeed play an important role as head of state during times of national instability and crisis, and only 19-22% think she does not.

How should the future of the Royal Family look?

While the established rules of succession are clear that the oldest child of the sitting monarch should inherit the throne, adults in Britain are unsure about whether to follow the rules or break from this tradition. 

Two in five (41%) adults want to see Prince William ascend to the throne, marginally higher than the 37% who want to see Prince Charles take over.

Older Brits however are more likely to want Charles to succeed, 49% of the over 65’s want to Charles rule first compared to 41% who back William.

Despite this split, adults are in agreement about which Royal couple will have the greatest influence over the coming years; over two thirds (68%) say Prince William and his wife Katherine the Duchess of Cambridge will play the biggest role in shaping the future of the family. 

One in eight adults (12%) think Prince Charles will have the biggest effect on the direction of the Royal Family.

Their exit from the Royal Family last year sees only 7% of adults thinking that Harry and Meghan will be the biggest influence on the family, although this rises to 22% among 18-24 year olds.

This opinion on succession and influence broadly follows our latest Royal favourability tracking, which shows Prince William on a positive score more than twice as high as that of his father.

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus Research here

See full results here