Majority of Canadians (58%) Believe Royal Family Treated Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Unfairly Because of Her Race

Two in Three (66%, +4 points since last year) Say Queen and Royal Family Shouldn’t Have Formal Role in Canada, But Only Half (53%) Support Holding Referendum on Future of Monarchy in Canada

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, March 18, 2021 – Following Oprah Winfrey’s explosive interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News has found that a majority (58%) of Canadians agree (18% strongly/40% somewhat) that the royal family has treated Meghan unfairly because of her race. Women (62%) are more likely than men (54%) to believe this is the case, as are those aged 18-34 (66%) compared to Canadians aged 35-54 (57%) and 55+ (54%).

There is a growing sentiment within Canada that the Queen and royal family should not have any formal role in Canadian society as they are simply celebrities and nothing more, with two in three (66%) Canadians agreeing (30% strongly/36% somewhat), up 4 points since last year and 6 points since 2016.  

Moreover, six in ten (59%) agree (26% strongly/33% somewhat) that when Queen Elizabeth’s reign ends, Canada should cut its formal ties to the British monarchy, although this sentiment has held steady (down 1 point) since last month amid the resignation of Julie Payette as Governor General of Canada. Similarly, the recent interview has not shaken confidence in the Queen herself, with eight in ten (79%) agreeing (28% strongly/51% somewhat) that Queen Elizabeth has done a good job in her role as monarch, statistically unchanged (down 2 points) from a year ago.

Despite these republican musings, Canadians are split on whether anything should be done about it. Roughly half (53%) of Canadians agree (20% strongly/33% somewhat) that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should hold a referendum on the future of the monarchy in Canada, while the other half (47%) disagree (17% strongly/30% somewhat) that he should pursue such a course of action. Support for a referendum is highest in Quebec (66%), but considerably lower in British Columbia (59%), Ontario (48%), Atlantic Canada (47%), Alberta (45%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (44%).  

While the Oprah interview doesn’t appear to have fundamentally shocked Canadians’ confidence in the monarchy, at least not enough to commit to exploring an alternative, it has caused some to view the institution in an unfavourable light. Half (48%) of Canadians agree (13% strongly/35% somewhat) that the recent interview given by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has made them see the British monarchy as a racist institution, while the other half (52%) disagree (17% strongly/35% somewhat). Those in British Columbia (57%) are most likely to agree, followed by Canadians living in Atlantic Canada (53%), Alberta (51%), Quebec (50%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (43%), and Ontario (42%). Younger adults aged 18-34 (53%) and 35-54 (52%) are more likely than those aged 55+ (41%) to see the monarchy as a racist institution.

Perhaps the most lasting impression that the interview has left with Canadians is an affirmation that the split of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from the family as senior working royals was the right decision for them: eight in ten (78%) agree (32% strongly/46% somewhat) that they support Harry and Meghan’s decision to remove themselves as working members of the royal family, although agreement is down 4 points since last year.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 11-12, 2021, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2001
[email protected]

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The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs

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