Buckingham Palace with crowds on the Mall

Recent reports have commented on how the monarchy’s popularity has fallen in recent years – to just 55%, according to one poll. A dip into the Archive of Market and Social Research shows what a shift this is.

June 1969 saw the UK broadcast of Royal Family, a TV documentary, shortly followed by the then Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales. At this point, says an NOP bulletin, 88% of the population felt the Monarchy was ‘a good thing for Britain’. Young people were more sceptical but even among 21–24 year-olds the figure was still 76%.

Affection for the Queen herself was far from the only factor: four years later, a Sunday Times poll by Opinion Research Centre revealed that while she was admired by 80% of the population, figures for the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen Mother were only slightly lower; and indeed, 68% held Prince Charles in high regard. By 1983, two years after his wedding to Diana, the Prince had actually overtaken the Queen (72% vs 67%) in a poll by Public Opinion Services.

A 1988 study by NOP showed that the then Prince’s willingness to speak out on important matters (notably architecture and the environment) was broadly popular. A majority felt that he should say more about controversial issues and as many as 70% disagreed with the notion that ‘he gets too involved in political issues’. The survey also produced the intriguing finding that, offered the choice between Prince Charles and Mrs Thatcher as prime minister, 31% opted for the Prince and 38% for the Conservative leader.


The Advanced Search term All fields; Prince Charles; Exact phrase was used to discover relevant articles in the Archive of Market and Social Research. The findings discussed above were sourced from the following reports in particular:
NOP Bulletin 1969 July:
NOP Political Bulletin 1973 September:
British Public Opinion Issue 05.04 1983 April
NOP Political, Social, Economic Review Issue no.70 1988 June

Contributed by Nick Tanner
Date posted: 3rd May 2023


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