LONDON (Reuters) – Young people in Britain no longer think the country should keep the monarchy and more now want an elected head of state, with their mood souring over the last couple of years, a poll on Friday showed.
The British monarchy traces its history back to William the Conqueror who invaded England in 1066, though royals ruled the patchwork of kingdoms which stretched across what became England, Scotland and Wales for centuries before that.
According to the survey by YouGov, 41% of those aged 18 to 24 thought there should now be an elected head of state compared to 31% who wanted a king or queen.
That was a reversal of sentiment from two years ago, when 46% preferred the monarchy to 26% who wanted it replaced.
However, overall the survey had better news for Queen Elizabeth, 95, and the royal family, with 61% favouring the monarchy while just under a quarter thought it should be replaced with an elected figure.
The last few months have been difficult for the Windsors with the death of the queen’s 99-year-old husband Prince Philip in April and the crisis that followed the interview by Elizabeth’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan with U.S. chat show host Oprah Winfrey in March.
Previous polls have indicated an age divide, with younger generations holding more favourable views of Harry and Meghan than their older counterparts who had overhwelmingly negative feelings about them.
While there is no possibility of an end to the monarchy while the queen remains on the throne, there is concern for the royals about a declining support among younger Britons.
The survey of 4,870 adults found 53% of those aged between 25-49 supported keeping the monarchy, down five percentage points from a similar poll in 2019, while support for an elected head was up 4 points.
Amongst those aged over 65, 81% backed the monarchy, almost unchanged from two years ago.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)