Poll shows young Australians’ low appetite for the monarchy amid royal engagement

By on
Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle
Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle leave after visiting radio station Reprezent FM, in Brixton, London January 9, 2018. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

The upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has been making headlines, but the couple’s current engagement fails to turn Australians into royalists, a new poll suggests. The survey shows that support for the monarchy is at a record low and is weakest among respondents aged 18 to 34.

Research Now’s poll of 1,000 people shows that 52 percent of Australians support a shift to a republic while 25 percent of respondents said they are unsure. Twenty-two percent said they prefer the monarchy.

Young Australians are not likely to be won over by the royal engagement. The majority or 62 percent of those surveyed said that Prince Harry’s engagement and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s pregnancy have no effect on their opinions. This can be compared to nearly one-third of those who responded to the survey that they are more likely to support a republic because of the royal engagement and Middleton’s third pregnancy.

Support for the monarchy is strongest among respondents aged 65 years and over. Thirty-six percent of those surveyed said they disagree that Australia must become a republic.

The result comes as the Kensington Palace’s Twitter account has been posting information about Harry and Markle’s engagement. It was previously revealed that Markle will be baptised and confirmed as a member of the Church of England prior to the wedding.

Harry’s engagement is not the only one among the royal family as Princess Eugenie has also announced that she is getting married. And while a new baby is on the way, this year appears to be a busy time for the royals.

Middleton is expected to give birth in April. Princess Charlotte’s birthday is May 2. Prince William and his wife’s wedding anniversary is April 29. The new member of the royal family arriving ahead of Harry and Markle’s wedding on May 19 could mean that one of the new baby’s first public engagements could possibly be the nuptials.

Australian National University’s Benjamin Jones said Australians have always been able to separate the cult of major royal events from constitutional matters. “It’s an insult to the intelligence of young Australians to say that because they enjoy watching royal weddings, they want a royal to be the Australian head of state,” The Guardian reports him as saying. An Essential survey of 1,000 Australians last month found a 29 percent opposition and a 44 percent support for a republic.