We live in highly polarised times. This year’s general election – and the EU referendum in 2016 – revealed wildly different voting habits and future priorities by age, class, region of the UK and ethnicity, among others. The political centre ground in the UK – as in the US and many other markets – is eroding as we search for a new political consensus to replace the old one that expired during the course of the economic downturn.
As we sift through the various morbid symptoms of this interregnum, some will find comfort in timeless institutions. The Royal Family is one such institution – although hardly free of scandal or outrage, the Queen and her grandsons have approval ratings that no politician can dream of.
But the announcement of royal nuptials prompts us to consider the future – which is looking altogether less favourable for the Royals. Recent polling has found that while the public have an overwhelmingly positive view of the Queen and Princes William and Harry, their view of Charles is far more mixed – in fact his net approval ratings of +4% closely resemble that of leading politician; dividing opinion on a partisan basis. Reports like the one this week on Charles political activities don’t do him any favours.
In a period of remarkable – although not unprecedented – political flux support for the monarchy has been unwavering. Since the 1990s, the proportion advocating republicanism has consistently hovered between 15-20% – very similar to the proportion of people who don’t have a good opinion of the current Queen. In the years to come, we may see more significant shifts here – unless the crown skips a generation.