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The Markle Debacle: how do the British public feel about the Sussexes now?

Chris Hopkins Political Research Director 01/10/2020

The Royal pair have sparked debate over the past 12 months, but how do Brits really feel about them now?

Nearly half (46%) agree that they should have their titles of Duke and Duchess taken away from them

Despite their resignation as senior royals and subsequent move to sunnier climes, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made the news once again, as a new video launched last week during which they urge Americans to vote in the upcoming election.

The media coverage has brought the Sussexes back into the spotlight, and using data from Savanta ComRes’ exclusive polling with Tatler, we decided to take a look at how the UK public feels about them now.

The Sussexes, and Meghan in particular, have dealt with their fair share of criticism and negative media attention over the past 12 months – and whilst much of it has been turbulent, there is certainly still a level of support and sympathy for them and their new lives.

Almost four in ten (36%) say that the Sussexes are right to have stepped down as full-time working Royals, although nearly half (46%) agree that they should have their titles of Duke and Duchess taken away from them. Over half (55%) of Brits say they don’t particularly miss having them living in the UK – though 17% do miss having them reside here.

People are divided on the choice the Sussexes made to move stateside permanently, but our data shows that a third (34%) don’t blame them for leaving the Royal Family in itself. In fact, people are ever so slightly more likely to say that they believe the duo will have a better life in America than in the UK (28% vs 26%).

Perhaps this is due to the media spotlight that Harry and Meghan are subjected to in the UK – living and working in one of the most famous buildings in the country.

The pair have made the front page of almost every newspaper over the past couple of years, and have battled with several of them over the publication of private and personal information, particularly in Meghan’s case. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that over a third (35%) of Brits think that the media generally treats Meghan unfairly, and a similar amount (33%) say it’s unfair that Meghan is criticised more than Harry.

The majority of Brits (58%) agree that as part of their new life in the US, Meghan and Harry shouldn’t accept money from Prince Charles and must pay their own way – and with the recent announcement that the pair had paid off the £2m+ Frogmore cottage renovation, it seems the couple would be inclined to agree.

To find out more about this research, please please get in touch.