Snap poll: post-interview, the public remain unsympathetic to Harry and Meghan

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
March 09, 2021, 12:36 PM UTC

As the dust settles following the controversial royal interview, what do Britons make of the situation?

Prince Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview with Orpah Winfrey was viewed by over 11 million Britons during its UK debut on Monday night, and now new YouGov polling for Sky News reveals public sentiment has shifted little compared to attitudes a week ago.

Where do sympathies lie post-interview?

YouGov polling conducted last week revealed Britons tended to sympathise more with the royal family over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and our latest figures show the interview has had little impact on public opinion.

Around a third of people (36%) say their sympathies lie mostly with the Queen and the royal household (-2 points compared to 4 March), while 22% of people (+4) say they have more sympathy for Harry and Meghan. Over quarter (28%) feel no sympathy for either of the royal camps.

As has been common in previous YouGov polling surrounding the Sussexes, there is a significant difference of opinion between the ages. Nearly half of those aged between 18 and 24 (48%) feel more sympathy for Harry and Meghan, while 15% are more sympathetic to the senior royals. Britons aged 25 to 49 are split 28% to 24% sympathising.

Above the age of 50, sympathies flip in favour the senior royals and the Queen by 46% to 13%, rising to half of those aged over 65 (55%) feeling more sympathy for the Queen.

Have Harry and Meghan been treated fairly by “The Firm”?

Meghan and Harry talked at length their lives as senior royals, and how they felt they had to go their own way after finding out their son would not be granted security or the title of prince. However, Britons are split down the middle on whether the way Harry and Meghan have been treated by the royal family was fair or unfair.

Three in ten (32%) think the Duke and Duchess have been treated fairly, and the same proportion (32%) think they have been treated unfairly, while a third of people (36%) are unsure either way.

Once again, there is a large generational difference in opinion, with most Britons aged 18 to 24 (61%) thinking the treatment Harry and Meghan have received has been unfair, and those aged 25 to 49 tending to agree. However, above age of 50 opinion tends to swing the opposite way, with those between 50 and 64 more likely to think their treatment has been fair, and among those aged 65 and above people think the royal family have treated Harry and Meghan fairly by 50% to 15%.

Is being a royal a privilege or a burden?

The interview also saw Harry and Meghan discuss intimate details of the trials and tribulations that come with being a frontline royal, pressures which Meghan revealed took a heavy toll on her mental health and played a part in their decision to leave the UK.  

Britons are under no illusion that royal life is easy either, approaching two fifths Britons (38%) think that being a Royal is both a burden and a privilege (38%). A further 23% think the role is more of a burden to its holder, however just over a quarter (28%) think being a royal is more of a privilege.

Unlike other questions YouGov has asked, this one did not reveal a significant difference between older and younger Britons, instead showing that women are more sympathetic to the job of royal than men. Only 20% of women see a royal title as more of a privilege than a burden compared with 37% of men. Women are instead more likely to see royal life as a double-edged sword of privilege and burden equally (43%) than men are (33%).

See full results here