Royal popularity rating hits 15-year high

By Liz Hull

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II

Among all the gifts that will be presented to the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee, perhaps this will be most treasured.

The monarch's popularity is at its highest for at least 15 years, a poll has found, with affection for the Windsors rising following the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding last year, and ahead of the Jubilee.

Sixty-nine per cent believe the country would be worse off without the Royal Family. Only 22 per cent think the opposite, that Britain would be better off without them.

The 47-point margin between the two positions is the biggest recorded on any of the 12 occasions pollsters ICM have asked the question since 1997.

The results are somewhat ironic given that the poll was commissioned by the traditionally pro-Republican Guardian newspaper.

Support for the Queen has risen even since last year. When the same question was asked shortly before the Royal Wedding, 63 per cent said we would be worse off without the Queen.

In August 1997, around the time of Diana's death, that figure stood at 48 per cent.

Despite solid support for the monarch across all ages and classes, the latest poll revealed the public are anxious about what will happen when the Queen's reign ends.

Of those surveyed, 39 per cent said they want Prince Charles to be King.

Almost half want the crown to skip a generation and pass straight to Prince William.

Only 10 per cent said Britain should become a republic with an elected head of state when the Queen dies or abdicates.

ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,002 adults between May 18 and May 20 for the survey.

It found that support for the monarchy is at its strongest among older, especially Conservative voters, 82 per cent of whom are in favour of the Royal Family.

But across every age group and among Labour and Liberal Democrat voters alike, the monarchy is enjoying solid support.

Although there is nothing to suggest Prince William would take the crown over his father, the poll reveals that if he did so, he would have the support of the younger, largely Labour-voting population.

Surveys on the Royal Family's popularity date back to the 1960s, and show support for the Queen has remained remarkably steady.

Even during difficult spells, such as the Queen's infamous 'annus horribilis' in 1992, support for a republic has rarely risen much above 20 per cent.

- Daily Mail

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