Who leads UK royal family popularity stakes?

King Charles III enjoyed a spike in popularity after Queen Elizabeth II died, which has dipped only slightly after a year

The Prince of Wales poses for a selfie with members of the public. Dorset. PA
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King Charles III's subjects have speculated for years whether he would maintain the British monarchy's popularity once he took the throne – but new polling suggests he has made a good impression in his first year.

The UK's head of state enjoyed a surge in popularity, which has dipped only slightly, following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II on September 8 last year.

YouGov polling shows most Britons say King Charles is doing a good job. He ranks as the fourth most popular member of the royal family in a table led by his heir apparent Prince William, who on Thursday was at an event championing the homeless where he met former footballer Paul Gascoigne.

Prince Harry, whose memoirs generated a wave of royal mudslinging in January, remains a less popular member of the royal family, as he returns to the UK for an awards ceremony a day before the anniversary of his grandmother's death.

The king will begin his second year on the throne with a rearranged state visit to France, following a trip to Germany in March that was widely seen as a success.

After a year of political upheaval that saw King Charles run through two prime ministers in his first two months, a majority of Britons say the monarchy is a good thing for the country.

As the country marks his first year on the throne, these charts reveal the state of King Charles's monarchy.

Charles as king

After the queen died, King Charles enjoyed a spike in popularity that has dipped only slightly.

One difference might be that YouGov now asks how King Charles is doing, whereas previously people were asked a hypothetical question as to what kind of king he would make.

Most Britons think the king is doing a good job (59 per cent) compared to only 17 per cent who say he is doing a bad job.

Royal favourites

Prince William has come out top in terms of favourability, just ahead of Princess Anne and his wife Catherine in third place.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who have dropped out of royal life and moved away from the UK, have also sunk in the rankings of senior members of the family.

Family and monarchy

Both the royal family and the wider issue of the monarchy are generally viewed favourably.

In all questions, there is also an age split, with younger people generally less favourable towards the members of the royal family personalities and the institution of the monarchy.

Value for money

Pride glows

Overall, the public tends to feel pride rather than embarrassment about the monarchy, but there was also a generational change in perception.

A majority of the oldest Britons (64 per cent aged 65 and above) say they are proud of the monarchy, but only 25 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds say the same.

Younger Britons are split between saying that they are neither proud nor embarrassed (34 per cent) or actively embarrassed (33 per cent).

Prince William champions homeless

The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the Bournemouth branch of the Homewards UK initiative, a charity they launched in June to tackle homelessness.

Their visit highlighted how local firms can help reduce homelessness.

While at Pret A Manger, football star Paul Gascoigne turned up to see the royal couple. He shook Prince William's hand and kissed his cheek with a crowd of well-wishers in the shop.

Prince William was given his own Pret name badge and a lesson in making sandwiches at the chain.

Pret has launched a scheme to help 500 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness into jobs at the chain's UK outlets over the next five years.

Prince Harry's return

The Duke of Sussex was in England for a rare visit on the eve of Queen Elizabeth's death.

Prince Harry, wearing a navy suit and pale blue tie, smiled and posed for photos at the WellChild Awards, which focuses on seriously ill children and their families.

It was the first time he had been seen in the UK since his high-profile legal case at the High Court against Mirror Group Newspapers in June.

Prince Harry, a WellChild patron for 15 years, was meeting award winners at a reception before presenting the award for inspirational child (aged four to six) and delivering a speech.

A host of famous faces, including former Olympic swimmer Mark Foster and TV presenter Charlotte Hawkins, joined the duke at the Hurlingham Club in London for the ceremony.

Updated: September 07, 2023, 5:28 PM