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5 August 2021

Exclusive polling: How do British voters feel about the monarchy after recent controversy?

New polling for the New Statesman suggests majority support for the monarchy persists, yet around a third say it is not fit for purpose and would back its abolition after the Queen dies.

By Eleanor Peake

A majority of people in Britain support the institution of the monarchy, yet over a third would back its abolition after the Queen dies, according to new polling for the New Statesman.

When asked whether they support or oppose the monarchy, ​​53 per cent of respondents say they support the institution, of which 26 per cent strongly support it. Just 18 per cent oppose it, of whom only 7 per cent strongly oppose it, and 23 per cent neither support nor oppose it, according to exclusive polling for the New Statesman by Redfield and Wilton Strategies*.

This new polling comes months after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, during which they claimed that a member of the royal family had raised “concerns” about “how dark” their baby would be, and talked about the “toxic environment” of the British tabloid media. Despite the fallout from these allegations, a majority of 53 per cent of respondents say the monarchy is fit for purpose in modern Britain – yet nearly a third, at 32 per cent, say it is not, and 16 per cent don’t know.

In the past few years, the royal family has been embroiled in a series of scandals. Particularly damaging were accusations that Prince Andrew had had sex with an underage girl (which he denies), as his links to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were exposed. His disastrous 2019 interview with Emily Maitlis on Newsnight received widespread condemnation. Since then, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose to leave the monarchy, as they felt “trapped” within the system.

Forty-two per cent of respondents say they would oppose the abolition of the monarchy after the reign of Elizabeth II has ended, including 29 per cent who would strongly oppose it. Yet over a third –34 per cent – would support abolition of the monarchy after the Queen dies, 18 per cent say would neither support nor oppose it, and 5 per cent don’t know.

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While the monarchy is generally supported in Britain, there is apathy towards the institution. When asked if they would support the continuation of the monarchy after the reign of Elizabeth II had ended, 21 per cent say they would neither support nor oppose it (54 per cent say they would support it, including 30 per cent who would strongly support it, 19 per cent would oppose it and 6 per cent don’t know).

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*Polling conducted on 29 July 2021, with a sample size of 1,500 eligible voters in Great Britain.