Prince Harry’s book hasn’t changed opinions about the royals

The British royal family has become practically synonymous with their famous credo of ‘never complain, never explain’, especially after the release of Prince Harry’s memoir on Tuesday spare partin which he devotes 416 pages to doing a fair bit of both.

Nevertheless, everything can be in vain. After A recent poll Out of around 1,700 British residents surveyed by British pollster YouGov, more than half (54%) of the British public has a positive view of the monarchy as an institution, although that figure has fallen from 60% in November following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The poll, conducted Jan. 5-6, came amid a steady drip of leaked revelations spare part before its official release, including allegations that Prince William attacked Harry.

The only glaring exception spare Parts Impact could be on the person Harry least expected. The same poll found that Harry’s own popularity among Brits has fallen to its lowest level since YouGov started more than a decade ago with just over a quarter (26%) having a positive opinion of him, compared with almost two-thirds (64%) who have a negative. This decline can be seen even among younger Britons, who have historically been more sympathetic to the Duke of Sussex.

According to YouGov, Harry’s popularity has steadily declined since November 2017 (a period coinciding with his engagement to Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex), with the steepest drop coming in January 2020, when Buckingham Palace announced that the Sussexes would no longer be working members of the royal family. The only other king to see a drop in popularity is his brother William, whose favor has fallen much more modestly by comparison – from 77% in December to 69% in early January. Attitudes towards the remaining royals like King Charles, Kate Middleton and Markle remain largely unchanged at 60%, 69% and 23% respectively.

Continue reading: Why the royal family hasn’t responded to Prince Harry’s memoir

The lack of movement in British public opinion when it comes to the royal family is not entirely surprising. As an institution, the monarchy has long enjoyed broad, albeit decreasing, support among the British, albeit to some extent individual members not have. And while promoting spare part has shed light on several troubling aspects of royal life – from claims that Harry’s own family were behind negative stories that appeared about him and his wife in the British tabloids, to the archaic rules governing details so minute what beard lengths are – the revelations appear to have largely bypassed most Brits.

This can be explained, at least in part, by the British’s pre-existing views of the Sussexes, whose decision to leave England in favor of a warmer California coast was viewed by some as a form of apostasy. But it can also be explained by the very British penchant for a stiff upper lip – the stoic quality conveyed by the drawing back of the palace curtains about the reality of royal life or (or, as Harry puts it, taking charge of his own history), Harry betrayed .

“In Britain, I think it’s part of our DNA,” says Richard Fitzwilliam, an expert on the royal family, of the monarchy, noting that while Harry’s estrangement represents a serious rift within the family, it’s nothing to do with the institution had not faced before. “The monarchy has a dysfunctionality, the behavior of the family,” Fitzwilliam adds, “but then again, that makes it even more intriguing.”

If the Sussexes can count on more support, however, it’s in the United States. On the whole, Americans tend to be more sympathetic to the Sussexes than Brits, especially among those who view the royal couple as taking a stand against the racism Markle has encountered in Britain. It helps that the US, home to monarchists and Anglophiles alike, tends to see British royalty as an extension of celebrity culture rather than representatives of a sacrosanct institution.

But if the Sussexes aren’t careful, they could also risk alienating their American sympathizers. “Everyone has a family, I have arguments with my family – should I show this to the whole world?” said CNN anchor Don Lemon. “I know he’s selling a book, but to me it’s just… perfunctory.”

“We’ve all just fallen into a wormhole where we’ll never hear every single detail of Prince Harry’s life.” tweeted American television personality Meghan McCain. “This will never end. He will never let us live!”

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write to Yasmeen Serhan at [email protected]

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