With their lives constantly playing out in the public eye, do Britons have an insight into the characteristics of various members of the Royal Family? New research by Ipsos in the UK shows us what the public think of some of the key members of the family, and how popular they are as a result.
Having been known to the public for her whole life and a Head of State for 70 years, it’s not a surprise that Queen Elizabeth II is currently Britain’s favourite member of the Royal Family (45%). But what about her makes her so popular?
Of the list of characteristics given to respondents, Britons are most likely to say the Queen is traditional, half (53%) describe her in this way. After 7 decades of service to the country, it is no surprise that a significant proportion of Britons say the Queen is a symbol of what is good about Britain as well as a good representative for Great Britain on the world stage (both 41%). A similar proportion say she is someone who unites people across Britain (39%) while around a third describe her as powerful (35%), capable (33%) or as someone who has sound judgement (29%). On nearly all of these she has a stronger image than other members of the Royal Family.
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge
Since marrying into “the Firm”, the Duchess of Cambridge has played a key role in the Royal Family and is now the second most popular family member (32%). When we look at what characteristics people most associate with her, it becomes clear as to why she is so well-liked. Britons are most likely to see the Duchess as modern (37%) while almost as many describe her as a good representative of Great Britain on the world stage (35%) and capable (33%). Three in 10 say Catherine has a lot of personality (30%) while 29% say she is a symbol of what is good in Britain and concerned about those in Britain who are really in need (both 29%).
Although her fashion sense is widely reported on, only 6% say she is more style than substance.
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge
As 2nd in line to the throne, Prince William is the third most popular member of the Royal Family with 28% selecting him. His strongest characteristics among the public are being seen as a good representative for Britain on the world stage (36%), modern (34%) and capable (33%). A further 3 in 10 (30%) say Prince William gives them confidence in the future of Britain and say he is a symbol of what is good about Britain.
He is also recognised as someone who is concerned about people in real need in Britain (28%) and someone who unites people across the country (27%).
In line with his position in earlier polls, only 14% say Prince Charles is their favourite member of the Royal Family. Despite this, other recent polling suggests half of Britons still expect him to be a good king. People are most likely to feel that Prince Charles is traditional, 41% describe him as such.
However, other opinions are split when it comes to the characteristics of our next king. While 23% say Prince Charles is out of touch with ordinary people, 21% say he is a good representative for Great Britain and 19% describe him as capable.
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex
Prince Harry’s popularity among the British public has fallen in recent years, , with only 11% saying he is their favourite member of the Royal Family, and the way he is perceived may help to explain why. While people are most likely to describe him as modern (25%), almost as many say that he is out of touch with ordinary people (22%). On the other hand, one in 5 (20%) say he has a lot of personality.
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall
Previous Ipsos polling shows Britons are in favour of the Duchess of Cornwall being given the title of “Queen Consort” when Prince Charles ascends the throne by a margin of 38% to 28%. Now, 9% say she is their most favourite member of the Royal Family, similar to previous years, and the characteristics the public most likely to associate with her are being traditional (26%) and capable (17%), although 16% say she is out of touch with ordinary people. However, many people are unsure, with 14% picking none of the options and 18% saying they don’t know.
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex
Similarly to her husband, the Duchess of Sussex has seen her popularity in the UK decline over the years with only 6% now choosing her as their favourite royal. This is reflected in the characteristics the public applies to her. Britons are most likely to say Meghan is out of touch with ordinary people (24%) while a similar proportion say she is more style than substance (23%). On the other hand, 18% describe her as modern, and 14% that she is concerned about discrimination and injustice in society. Again, many do not have a clear image of her, with 16% choosing none of the options and 11% saying they don’t know.
Popularity of other members of the Royal Family
As mentioned above, the Queen remains the most popular member of the Royal Family, chosen by 45% in her Platinum Jubilee year. The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge remain in second (32%) and third (28%) respectively while Princess Anne is Britain’s fourth favourite member with 18% choosing the Princess Royal.
Kelly Beaver, Chief Executive at Ipsos in the UK, said:
Considering the life she has committed to her country and her people for 70 years, it is no surprise that the Queen firmly remains the nation’s favourite Royal Family member, with her strongest characteristics associated with tradition and as a positive symbol of Britain who can unite people at home and represent the country abroad.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge closely follow the Queen in their popularity ratings, and we can see that, in the public’s eye, while they share some of the characteristics which have made her so popular, they also represent a more modern expression of the Royal Family going forward.
- Ipsos UK interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,039 adults aged 16-75 in Great Britain. Interviews took place on the online Omnibus using the Ipsos.Digital platform between 13th and 14th May 2022. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age, working status, social grade within gender, government office region and education.