Charles pushes past Wills as preferred successor

Britain's Prince Charles, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in central London. Photo / AP
Britain's Prince Charles, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in central London. Photo / AP

Britain's heir to the throne Prince Charles has overtaken his son William as the people's preferred successor to Queen Elizabeth II in the wake of her diamond jubilee, a poll suggested on Sunday.

YouGov's poll for The Sunday Times newspaper found that 44 per cent of respondents want Charles to succeed his mother, with 38 per cent opting for William.

The figures have been exactly reversed since a poll two weeks ago, suggesting Britons were impressed by how Charles stood in for his ill father Prince Philip at last weekend's festivities marking the queen's 60-year reign.

Philip, who celebrates his 91st birthday on Sunday, was released from hospital overnight NZ time after five days of treatment for a bladder infection that forced him to miss the final jubilee celebrations.

At the star-studded jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace on Monday, thousands of revellers chanted Philip's name after Charles told them, "If we shout loud enough, he might just hear us in hospital."

Charles, 63, also paid a warm and witty tribute to his "mummy", describing her "a very special person" as he took to the stage at the end of a concert featuring the likes of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

With his father absent, Charles also stood beside his mother during Tuesday's jubilee service at St Paul's Cathedral, and joined her, along with his wife Camilla, in a horse-drawn carriage as she waved to more huge crowds.

Philip's popularity has also risen in the wake of his illness, with 58 per cent describing him as an asset to the royal family compared to 47 per cent before the jubilee celebrations.

Prince William's popularity surged after his engagement to Kate Middleton, who he married last year in a glittering ceremony that was broadcast around the world.

Support for the royal family remains high, with 75 per cent of Britons in favour of keeping the monarchy, according to the YouGov poll.

Buckingham Palace told AFP that 1.5 million people had filled central London on Tuesday to cheer the 86-year-old queen, many waving Union Jack flags as she passed in her carriage and waved from the palace balcony.

Some 1.2 million people also lined London's River Thames last Sunday for the spectacular 1,000-boat jubilee pageant, while street parties were held up and down the country.

- AFP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 22 Aug 2014 22:53:07 Processing Time: 408ms