Public opinion of Harry and Meghan falls to new low after Oprah interview

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
March 12, 2021, 10:57 AM UTC

More people than not now have a negative view of Prince Harry, while public opinion of other senior royals largely remains unchanged

Harry and Meghan did not pull their punches when interviewed by Oprah. They made allegations of racist attitudes from members of the royal family and press, and revealed Meghan’s struggles with her mental health. But the latest YouGov data shows it has not done the couple any favours with the public. While their popularity ratings saw a small uplift ahead of the interview, they have since declined again and are now at their lowest ever level.

The latest YouGov data shows that 45% of Britons have a positive opinion of Prince Harry, while 48% regard him negatively, giving a net score of -3. This is a drop of 15 points from 2 March, and marks the first time attitudes have been negative rather than positive towards the prince.

Meghan’s scores have also fallen considerably. Only three in ten people (31%) have a positive opinion of her, while a majority of 58% view her negatively. This means she has a net rating of -27, down from -14 just over a week ago.

Public opinion on the couple has consistently varied across age groups. A majority of 18-24 year olds (55%) like Meghan, while only a third (32%) dislike her. The same is true for Harry, with three in five Britons aged 18 to 24 (59%) having a positive opinion of him, and only three in ten (28%) dislike him.

In contrast, most people aged 65 and older dislike both Harry (27% positive vs 69% negative) and Meghan (13% vs 83%).  

Dispute has had limited impact on public’s view of senior royals

Despite Britons being split on whether the Royal Family has treated Harry and Meghan fairly, the data suggests the row has not damaged the popularity of other royals.

The only noticeable shift since the interview is in how Britons regard Prince Charles. Two in five people (42%) now have a negative opinion of him – up from 36% on 2 March. Meanwhile, the share who view him favourably has dropped from 57% to 49%.

The other royals’ popularity remains unchanged. Britons continue to be most fond of the Queen, with four in five people (80%) liking her, and only 14% having a negative opinion of her.

Prince William and his wife Kate are also very popular, with about three quarters of Britons giving them favourable reviews.

Has Harry and Meghan’s dispute damaged the monarchy?

In the past days, many royal commentators have speculated over what the feud will mean for the monarchy.

At first glance, our polling suggests that public attitudes have not shifted considerably. Over three in five people (63%) say Britain should continue to have a monarchy, compared with 67% in October last year. Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) now want an elected head of state, up from 21%.

There continues to be strong support for Britain continuing to have a monarchy across all age groups except the youngest. Britons aged 18-24 now say they prefer an elected head of state to a monarchy by 42% to 37% - although please note that this is within the margin of error. This compares to 34% who said they would rather have an elected head of state in October 2020 (although note again that this shift is within the margin of error).

See the results for public opinion of the royals here and the most recent figures on attitudes to having a monarchy here