This British Royal Is Now More Popular Than the Queen, New Poll Shows

According to a new poll, there's a new queen among us. This royal is now the most popular of them all.

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When the coronavirus first swept through the U.K. earlier this year, it was essentially left up to Kate Middleton and Prince William to represent the Crown. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had already departed for North America, Prince Charles had been diagnosed with the virus, and Queen Elizabeth was self-isolating at Windsor Castle with Prince Philip. Now, it seems the shift has particularly helped one royal regain the spotlight. The surprising results of a new national poll show that Kate is now more popular than the Queen.

The Duchess of Cambridge rocketed to the top spot in a poll conducted by the Daily Mirror, which asked over 4,000 people to name their favorite royal. Kate bested the Queen, who ranked second, by about 500 votes. Thirty-five percent of respondents awarded her the crown.

Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton at Kings College on stage
Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph / PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

"Catherine has really come into her own this year," said one Palace insider. "She has behaved in a dignified and compassionate way befitting a future Queen during this pandemic with her many visits and calls with NHS workers, families and children. At a time of so much drama in the family, she has risen above it and earned the respect of a great many people for having done so."

After the tumultuous events of 2019, a source told me in early 2020 that the royal family considered Kate their "secret weapon." The Palace insider said the duchess's growing popularity was reminiscent of her late mother-in-law's star power. "She's become Diana without the drama," my source said.

Amid the pandemic, a lion's share of responsibilities have shifted to Kate and William, who've appeared together and separately several times a week on various Zoom calls with school children and frontline workers. "Catherine is particularly wonderful with children and parents. She's charmed people by sharing sweet stories about Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis," my source said. "She is very good at listening and enjoys having a laugh. The British people have appreciated her warmth and concern during this difficult time."

Kate and William, along with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were the first royals to return to work since a loosening of restrictions allowed them to resume in-person engagements.

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The Daily Mirror poll also found that the Duke of Cambridge was right behind his wife and grandmother in the No. 3 spot, followed by Prince Harry in fourth. This year's rankings reflect some of the recent seismic changes within the royal family. Harry, who has been the second most popular royal for many years, appears to have slipped a few notches in terms of public perception after his dramatic departure from the U.K. Meanwhile, William has moved up on the list, likely because of his increased appearances, which have allowed the British public to see a more personal side of their future king.

Rounding out the ranking was Princess Anne in fifth, Meghan Markle in sixth, and Anne's daughter, Zara Tindall (who does not have HRH title) in seventh. Sophie Wessex, who's been heightening her profile in the wake of Megxit and is embracing her more prominent role, came in eighth. And Charles and Camilla ranked at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.

"The British people have a great deal of respect and affection for Her Majesty and always will," said my insider. "But when it comes to the members of her family, it is very much a matter of perception. Right now, Catherine and William are getting high marks for taking on so much while being brilliant parents to their children. They've been a bright spot during a dark time." And for more charm from the Cambridges, check out William and Kate's Most Adorable Couples Moments Through the Years.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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