Prince Harry and Meghan ‘at war with monarchy’ says Fitzwilliams
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The Royal Family’s reputation has nosedived alongside that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, a devastating poll has found. While Harry’s favourability has fallen to a record low of 24 percent, the Firm has followed the same trend with a dip in popularity from 55 percent in September to 43 percent, YouGov surveys show. That drop was significant among young people aged 18 to 24 who are almost three times as likely as those aged 65 and over to think negatively of the royals, by 58 percent to 21 percent.
Anti-monarchy activist and Republic spokesperson Graham Smith believes Harry’s book and the Sussexes’ Netflix docu-series have had a “significant” impact on the Firm’s reputation, as youngsters are turning against the Royal Family as part of what he described as “cultural shifts”.
He told Express.co.uk: “The other thing is that there have been quite substantial cultural shifts over the last few years, which are represented in movements like Black Lives Matter, Me Too and the pulling down of the statues.
“People are more conscious of where the monarchy comes from and less tolerant of institutions that don’t reflect a change in attitude.
“With things like Me Too and Black Lives Matter, Andrew and Harry and Meghan have only reinforced the idea that the monarchy is totally detached from these values.
He added: “And I think this is why the generational gap is so big. It reflects a change in attitudes, which are more common among younger people.”
Symon Hill, an anti-monarchy activist arrested for shouting King Charles during a proclamation in Oxford, agrees that Harry’s book has had some impact but thinks other factors are playing out.
He explained: “I think Harry and the Royal Family act like celebrities. And Harry, like a celebrity, has written a book which reads to me like some sort of therapy exercise.
“And I think if it has damaged the Windsor family as much in the modern era with social media and celebrity gossip, they can’t expect all the details of their lives to be kept secret the way they would have been once.
“Ultimately, I suspect the future historians when they look at the declining support for the monarchy will actually say it has more to do with the death of Elizabeth II and the realisation that the monarchy is an institution just involved in a collection of people randomly put on a pedestal than the Harry and Meghan revelations as such.”
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams, who expressed concern at the crunch poll, believes the Royal Family will weather this storm like it did in the 1990s when a series of scandals rocked the Firm.
He told Express.co.uk: “This statistic is concerning, though the current crisis is not unique.
“The 1990s were a dreadful decade for the royal family, featuring the annus horribilis and Diana’s tragic death, yet by the Golden Jubilee in 2002 the tide had turned and the royals regained popularity.
“That of the senior members of the royal family remains high. It does to some extent depend on what the unpredictable Sussexes do next, but this decline in support is not likely to be long-term.”
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In a report on public opinion of the Royal Family released in September, Professor John Curtice has found that younger age groups have always shown less support.
But as they grow older, their support grows.
He wrote: “This pattern is not new. The gap between younger and older people was much the same in 1994 as it is now. The relative stability of the age gap reflects the fact that the older they become, the more likely people are to feel it is ‘very important’ to have a monarchy.”
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