The saga of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry versus the Royal Family made headlines again this week after the couple’s interview with Oprah – but which of the two sides does London support?
Well, according to a new poll, Londoners are tending to back #TeamSussex in the royal dispute.
When broken down by region, a YouGov survey of 4654 adults released on Tuesday revealed that 38% of London-based respondents believed the young couple have been treated unfairly by their Royal relatives.
In contrast, just 22% of people in the capital said the Palace had treated the pair fairly.
Londoners also sympathised more with the Sussexes in the dispute, although this was a closer-run contest as while 29% of Londoners said that their sympathies ‘mostly lie’ with Meghan and Harry, a sizeable 27% felt the same way about the Queen and other Royals.
The capital’s support for the LA-based couple may not come as a surprise to those who live there, but it does go against the opinions of the rest of the UK.
All other regions in the poll, including Scotland, the North and the Midlands/Wales, had more sympathy for the Royal Family – and none other than Scotland shared the view that the Sussexes had been treated unfairly.
YouGov conducted the survey between 8 and 9 March, just after the couple’s interview with Oprah aired in the US and at the same time as its revelations made headlines across the UK media.
The snap poll was done for SkyNews and asked respondents three questions, the last one being whether they thought being royal was more of a privilege or a burden.
The full breakdown of results is available here.
South West Londoner spoke to Professor of Public Opinion & Political Analysis, Roger Mortimore, at Kings’ College London to get his thoughts on the poll.
Professor Mortimore works for polling company Ipsos MORI part-time and contributed the chapter “Measuring British Public Opinion on the Monarchy and the Royal Family” to a 2016 book about the monarchy.
First, he said the poll probably gives an accurate picture of the public’s immediate reactions to the interview, bearing in mind that many people won’t have seen it.
He added: “YouGov are a reputable and professional polling company, and I have no reason to think that their polling on this issue would be any less reliable than anyone else’s.”
But he was clear that while getting snap reactions is useful, how significant these results are is another matter.
“Many people may change their minds as time goes on and as they are affected by other people’s reactions and by the media coverage,” he said.
He added that it is impossible to tell how deep people’s feelings are, or how strongly each side holds them.
Professor Mortimore also urged care about concluding too much from the London figures, explaining that as these are only a small part of the sample – 628 compared to 4654 total – the margin for error here is bigger than the overall figures.
Finally, he said that though it seems only a minority of the public are taking Meghan and Harry’s side against the Royal Family, this can still be a dividing factor with its own implications.
“Much of the strength of the Monarchy is in its ability to unify the country,” he said.
“When it becomes a centre of disagreement instead, as in the 1990s when there were divisions in the public between supporters and opponents of the Princess of Wales, this can weaken its hold on the public’s affections and make it harder for the Queen and other senior royals to do their jobs.
“But whether this will have a similar impact or will quickly fade away remains to be seen.
“I hope we will see some more polling in due course which will help us understand this in more depth.”