Prince of popularity: William for king?

Prince Charles may have whipped New Zealand crowds into a frenzy, but back home he has been topped by his son as the most popular royal.

Prince William's popularity in a poll published by the Evening Standard newspaper has sparked speculation he should take the throne before his father.

The 30-year-old prince was named by 62 per cent of those surveyed as their favourite in the House of Windsor.

Prince Charles, who spent last week touring New Zealand with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, won the affection of only 21 per cent of the 1104 adults polled, a score that ranks him below Queen Elizabeth (48 per cent), Prince Harry (36 per cent) and Prince William's wife Kate (23 per cent).

The Evening Standard says Prince William is the most popular royal in recent history and has put the monarchy on "a 20-year high" - although it says the support means Prince Charles, who celebrated his 64th birthday in Wellington last week, should be trumped as the immediate heir to the throne.

Market research company Ipsos Mori director Roger Mortimore, a professor of public opinion and political analysis at King's College London, said many would like to see William crowned king and considered him "young and good looking and popular".

"I think young people can see something of themselves in William and Kate. They can see the monarchy looking more modern than it did beforehand," Prof Mortimore told the Evening Standard.

The newspaper said aides for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall would hope their "successful tour of Australia and New Zealand" would "kickstart a revival in their ratings".

The Queen ends her Diamond Jubilee year with a 90 per cent approval rating for the way she is doing her job and 79 per cent in favour of keeping the monarchy.

- APNZ

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