The Monarchy remains as popular as ever, and opposition to the Queen retiring has risen substantially since the turn of the century, a survey by Ipsos for King's College London has found ahead of the Queen’s 90th birthday on Thursday (21 April).
The telephone survey of 1,001 British adults finds support for keeping the Monarchy remains at the same high level as in the past (76% favour Britain remaining a Monarchy compared to 17% preferring a republic). Three-quarters of the public (75%) say they think the Monarchy has an important role to play in the future of Britain, a slight increase since polls conducted at the end of the 20th century, when the figure was between 67% and 70%.
Most of the public do not think the Queen should retire, even though she turns 90 this year. Of those who were asked simply whether they thought the Queen should abdicate at some stage or should remain Queen as long as possible, only one in five (21%) thought she should ever give up the throne, while more than two-thirds (70%) thought she should remain Queen. Support for the idea of her stepping down has fallen substantially since the question was asked in 2001 when a third, 34%, said she should do so.
Support for the Queen retiring is a little higher when some reasons why she might do so are put forward. Half of the participants were asked a different question, which reminded them that the Queen is 90, that Prince Charles has waited longer than any other heir to the throne in British history, and that other European monarchs have recently retired when they reached old age. With this prompting, one in three (32%) said they thought the Queen should retire at some stage, although almost twice as many, 61%, said she should remain Queen for life.
Three Britons in five (60%) think that Prince Charles will make a good king when he does come to the throne, while 22% think he will make a bad king; 18% said they didn’t know. The public’s view of Prince Charles has improved significantly since ten years ago, when only 52% thought he would make a good king and 28% a bad one. However, he still falls short of the levels of approval that he achieved at the start of the 1990s, before the public break-up of his marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales. In June 1991, 82% said that they thought that Prince Charles would make a good king, and just 5% that he would make a bad one.
Roger Mortimore, Professor of Public Opinion in the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s, said:
“The Queen is our longest ever reigning Monarch, and the public are clear that they want her reign to continue. She has succeeded in keeping the institution popular, and most people now think the Monarchy will still have an important role in Britain’s future. Moreover, the public are increasingly confident that Prince Charles will make a good king when the time comes. The outlook for the Monarchy looks bright.”
- Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 GB adults by telephone on 13-16 February 2016. Data was weighted to match the profile of the population. The questions were included on Ipsos’s Political Monitor survey for February.
- The survey was conducted for the Polling Club at King’s College London. The Polling Club, run by Professor Roger Mortimore, allows students to increase their knowledge and understanding of survey research and public opinion by helping to design and analyse the results from a poll carried out by Ipsos. For further details about the Polling Club, contact Professor Mortimore.