Prince William May Never Become King, New Survey Suggests

Some new surveys have experts concerned.

From the day he was born, Prince William has been known as the future King of England. In fact, Prince Harry even devoted the title of his memoir book, Spare, to demonstrate how he and his older brother were brought up and treated differently. After the September 2022 death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, William moved up the line of succession and is currently next in line to the throne, behind his father, King Charles. However, according to a new survey and a few experts, there's a chance that William will never become King after all. 

Support for the monarchy was wobbly even before the death of Queen Elizabeth. But the new YouGov poll found it has further dwindled in the wake of Harry's memoir. The book details the collapse of relations between the royal family, Prince Harry, and his biracial wife, Meghan Markle, who was touted as a force who could modernize and diversify the ancient institution for new generations. 

Read on to find out what the poll says, how support for the monarchy has changed in recent years, and what else could explain the decline.

The Royal Family's Approval Ratings Have Declined Since "Spare" Was Published

CBS News

After the publication of Spare in January 2023, the approval rating of the Royal Family has dropped. According to YouGov poll, only 43 percent of Britons said they took pride in the monarchy. That's down from 55 percent last September. What's more, 20 percent of British citizens are now embarrassed by the monarchy. That's up from 15 percent last September, The Daily Express reports.

Statistics among younger people are more stark: Last September, only 47% of 18- to 24-year-olds said Britain should continue to have a monarchy. Before the Platinum Jubilee in May, only 33% said it should continue. Those numbers are sliding: In 2015, 69% of 18- to 24-year-olds said Britain should remain a monarchy.

There Is "Every Possibility" That William Won't Make It to the Throne


Graham Smith, an anti-monarchy activist, told Express that because of these numbers, there is "every possibility" Prince William will never assume the throne—much less his son. "The chances of George making it to the throne are even lower," said Smith. "We have ahead of us 100 years of fairly elderly men, as Willliam is likely to be in his 60s when he becomes king and George well into his 60s."

Smith said that protests are likely at King Charles' coronation, which is scheduled for May. There is "a lot of anger at" the royal family, he added. "Deference doesn't exist since the Queen is no longer there."

Charles's Approval Rating Doesn't Measure Up


When she died last September, Queen Elizabeth held an 81% approval rating among the British public. Charles's approval rating was 70% at the time of her death, a jump from its consistent range in the 50s and 60s. But the royal mess around Harry and Meghan has likely knocked that back down.

He Adds That It Is "Increasingly Unlikely" the Monarchy Will Survive

Members of the British royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour 2015

Smith adds that the mounting level of opposition with "lots of protests at Charles' coronation," "a lot of anger at" and "the fact deference doesn't exist since the Queen is no longer there" means that he may never rise to the throne. "And we're going to see a lot of countries around the Commonwealth ditch the monarchy." He added that "the notion that they will survive in the long term is increasingly unlikely."

What Is the Commonwealth?

The flag of the Commonwealth of Nations with the flags of the organization's countries along with the flag of Britain

Fifty-five countries currently belong to the British commonwealth, which was established in 1887. The group of nations pledge their allegiance to the monarch and are viewed as equal in return. But the organization's future is viewed as uncertain after the end of Queen Elizabeth's seven-decade reign.

In 2021, Barbados announced it would leave the commonwealth, removing the monarch as head of state, and become a republic. Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are reportedly considering a similar move. Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she expected the country to replace its head of state "in her lifetime." In 1999, Australia held a referendum about exiting the commonwealth (it failed) and recently inquired about a repeat.

Other Experts Maintain the "Decline in Support" is Temporary

People pay tribute to Princess Diana for 21st anniversary of her death at Golden Gates of Kensington Palace, London, UK.

However, while the latest polls are "concerning," Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams believes the Firm will recover. "This statistic is concerning, though the current crisis is not unique. The 1990s were a dreadful decade for the royal family, featuring the annus horribilis and Diana's tragic death, yet by the Golden Jubilee in 2002 the tide had turned and the royals regained popularity," he said.

"That support for the senior members of the Royal Family remains high. It does to some extent depend on what the unpredictable Sussexes do next, but this decline in support is not likely to be long term."

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