The public want the Crown to bypass the Prince of Wales and be handed to Prince William when the Queen’s reign ends, a poll has revealed.
The Duke of Cambridge has a 20-point lead – 47% to 27% – over his father Prince Charles in a huge blow to the heir’s popularity despite great strides to improve his public image over the past two decades.
But younger respondents aged 18 to 24 years old want Prince Harry as king over his dad and brother.
Although more than half – 51% – believe Harry, 36, along with wife Meghan, 39, have damaged the reputation of the monarchy.
Pollsters Deltapoll interviewed 1,590 adults between March 31 and April 1.
The data, weighted to be representative of the British adult population as a whole, will come as a shock to the royal family, who launched a PR drive after Charles’s divorce in 1996 from Princess Diana and their handling of her tragic death in 1997.
Just over 40% believe the monarch, who turns 95 on April 21, should remain in her position until she dies.
A fifth believe she should abdicate if in good health compared to 27% declaring Britain’s longest-serving monarch should choose to abdicate if her health fails.
If given the choice on who should succeed her, William, 38, still comes out on top with Charles, 72, a strong second.
For millennials – those aged 25 to 40 –nearly twice as many people favour Harry taking over compared to Charles.
Among 18 to 24 year olds Harry is the most popular choice, beating William 23% to 22%.
Harry and Meghan continue to polarise opinion since deciding to quit The Firm and giving a tell-all interview to Oprah Winfrey.
They accused an unnamed member of the family of questioning the colour of their unborn child’s skin and claimed Meghan was told she could not seek help for mental health issues when pregnant.
But a margin of more than two to one – 58% against 23% – believe they should be stripped of their royal titles.
But 31% of those polled believe their decisions have made no difference to the reputation of the monarchy, while 9% believe they improved the reputation.
But nearly two thirds of baby boomers think they have caused damage compared to fewer than four in 10 millennials.
Graham Smith, CEO of anti-monarchy group Republic, said: “No matter what the polls say Charles will be king.
“Yet this poll tells us people no longer care about the hereditary system, they want a choice.
“The huge gulf between generations underscores how disconnected the royals are from modern attitudes.
“This poll sets up the monarchy for a major crisis in support at the start of the decade that will probably see the succession of King Charles.
“As we approach the end of the Queen’s reign this medieval system is going to collide with modern British values. And the only credible solution is for the people to choose our head of state.
“It’s time Britain had a serious grown-up debate about who replaces the Queen. If voters want a choice that can only happen in a republic.”
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