King Charles may have to work harder than the Queen to maintain public support for the royal family, particularly in Scotland, according to a polling expert.
A polling tracker by YouGov showed that in May only 42% of Scottish voters believed that the monarchy was good for Britain, compared with 54% across the UK.
Meanwhile, an Ipsos poll in May showed that the Queen was the most popular member of the royal family with an approval rating of 86%, compared with 81% for Prince William and 65% for Charles.
Polling expert Mark Diffley, director and founder of the Edinburgh-based Diffley Partnership, said: “It is clear from polling that people in Scotland are more sceptical towards the monarchy as an institution than people in other parts of the UK tend to be.
“Now that the Queen is gone people are not about to man the barricades. But there are signs that the royal family under King Charles will probably need to work a bit harder at public perception and being in touch with the public more than the Queen was in her latter years.
“It was a different story 25 years ago when Princess Diana died and the Queen came in for a lot of criticism. But the most recent polling shows that virtually the whole country was favourable towards her. King Charles doesn’t inherit the job with that level of public favourability. The majority of the public is favourable towards him, but he doesn’t have the kind of sky-high ratings that the Queen enjoyed, particularly towards the end of her reign.”
YouGov polling showed that in May 70% of people in Britain aged 65 and over backed the monarchy, but only 28% of 18 to 24 year olds felt the same way.
Diffley said: “Support for the monarchy may have slipped marginally over the last 10 or so years, but not in significant way. The issue is there’s a massive age differential. It could be a cohort effect, as you get older, you become more pro-monarchy, in which case the royal family don’t have much to worry.
“But they know there is always a need to reinvent and make themselves more relevant to the public.”
He added: “One of the lessons from the Scottish independence campaign was that attitudes can change quite markedly. Attitudes could change if attention isn’t given to keep reinventing themselves and keeping an eye on public opinion.
“Public opinion is not going to change in the short term. But once King Charles has been crowned at his coronation ceremony, and people get to know him in a completely different role, then we will get a true measure of how people feel towards him.”
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