Almost half of British public want Prince Charles to give throne to William upon Queen’s death, survey finds

Exclusive: Polling for The Independent finds nearly 50 per cent of British public would like Prince of Wales to step aside

Tom Barnes
Wednesday 02 January 2019 00:56 GMT
Prince of Wales at 70: timeline of Prince Charles' life

Almost half of the British public believe Prince Charles should stand aside and let his eldest son William become the next king, polling shows.

The survey by BMG Research on behalf of The Independent found 46 per cent of Britons want the first in line to the throne to abdicate immediately to allow the Duke of Cambridge to take the throne.

Meanwhile, just 20 per cent of those surveyed think the Prince of Wales’s wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, should take the title of queen should he become the next monarch.

The Prince of Wales is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, having become first in line to the throne in 1952 upon his grandfather George VI’s death almost 67 years ago.

Despite an apparently significant amount of public support for the move, Charles seems unlikely at this time to step aside and allow his son to take the throne in his place.

Speaking to a BBC film crew ahead of his 70th birthday in November, the prince discussed becoming head of state, insisting he would not meddle in politics and conceding he would not be “able to do the same things I’ve done as heir”.

More of the 1,500 people polled said they thought Charles, 70, should abdicate than believed he should become king, with 27 per cent showing “strong support” for a move to directly pass the crown to William and a further 19 per cent saying they would “somewhat support” such a plan.

Just 13 per cent said they would “strongly oppose”, while 11 per cent said they would “somewhat oppose”. A little under a third of those surveyed – 29 per cent – expressed no opinion on the matter.

The idea would be most popular with young people in the 18 to 24 age group, where a third of respondents said they would strongly support the Prince of Wales abdicating when the Queen dies.

Charles has received criticism in the past for airing his views on talking points such as the environment and architecture – a stark contrast to the Queen, who has gone to great pains to keep her political views private in the name of neutrality.

Asked whether his public campaigning will go on should he become king, he said: “No, it won’t. I’m not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So of course I understand entirely how that should operate.”

The Independent’s poll also suggests the British public are as ambivalent to Charles’s wife, Camilla, as they are to the Prince of Wales himself.

Just 20 per cent of those surveyed believe she should take the title of queen if her husband does become king.

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The idea is most strongly opposed by the 65 and over age group, where 62 per cent do not want her to become queen.

Taxpayer funding the royal family receive through the Sovereign Grant also proved to be a contentious issue, with those polled split over who, if anyone, should be funded by the public purse.

A total of 38 per cent of those polled believe royals in the immediate line of succession should receive taxpayer funding, while 35 per cent believed the royal family should fund itself entirely.

Only 12 per cent of those polled thought all royals, not just those in the immediate line of succession, should receive taxpayer funding.

Source note: BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,508 GB adults online between 4 and 7 December. Data are weighted. BMG are members of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules

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