Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Harry and Meghan should steer clear of Coronation, UK public says

Harry and Meghan ‘never take responsibility’ says Wootton

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Prince Harry and Meghan should stay away from the Coronation and be stripped of their royal titles, the British public believes.

A OnePoll survey commissioned by the Daily Express has found that the Duke of Sussex has effectively lost the support of all age groups in the UK except the 18-24s after attacking his family in his newly published memoir, Spare.

The results will add to mounting pressure on the King to take action against his outspoken son and daughter-in-law, even though sources close to him have suggested he will want to try to reconcile privately with Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, in the run-up to the Coronation, despite their actions to widen the family rift.

OnePoll found 44 percent of the public do not want to see the Sussexes at the Coronation on May 6, while only 31 percent thought the couple should attend and the rest were undecided.

A senior royal aide said no decision had been taken yet about invitations. But Kristina Kyriacou, a former communictions secretary to the monarch, still believes Harry and Meghan will be asked to attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. “The King is not a vindictive man,” she told the Daily Express.

Harry has not spoken to his father or brother for some time and there have been claims that senior members of the Royal Family are worried that he will reveal their private conversations if he is invited to Britain to attend the Coronation.

But insiders have suggested that the King will want to avoid looking petty and will put the ball in Harry and Meghan’s court in spite of the risk of a public outcry and boos from the crowds for the couple.

More than half of those surveyed by OnePoll, 54 percent, thought that the Sussexes should be stripped of their titles, even though the King and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have made it clear that they do not support a change in the law to allow that to happen.

Some 37 percent think the dispute between Prince William and his brother Harry has gone so far that the brothers will never resolve it, while nine percent think it will be settled soon and a further 35 percent believe it will be eventually but not in the short term.

The poll shows that Harry and Meghan have suffered the most damage in the fallout after the fifth in line to the throne used his book to reveal behind-the-scenes rows inluding physical violence from William and to accuse the King, Queen Consort, and Prince and Princess of Wales of planting media stories and briefing against the couple to make the rest of the Royal Family look better.

Queen Camilla, who bore much of the brunt of Harry’s ire, has suffered a minor drop in support but the public actually think better of King Charles, William and Kate than before Spare was released despite Harry’s allegations, according to the results.

Asked if they thought better or worse of each family member after the publication of Spare, the 2,030 UK respondents questioned on January 11 and 12 recorded a 10 percent improvement for Charles III, a five percent one for William, nine percent for Kate, and a marginal two percent drop for Camilla.

But Harry and Meghan saw a worsening of their reputations by 39 percent and 35 percent respectively when those whose views of the couple had improved were measured against those whose opinions of them had deteriorated.

Harry’s decision to write candidly about killing 25 Taliban in Afghanistan, describing them as “chess pieces removed from the board”, has provoked an outcry from many of his former military colleagues who have warned that it will make him an extra security risk at a time when he is going through the courts to try to win back police protection on his visits to Britain.

It also provoked a huge reaction from respondents in the OnePoll survey: 66 percent said he was wrong and only 13 percent thought he was right to discuss the Taliban he had killed.

The poll supported other evidence from surveys that suggested that Harry and Meghan’s decision to wash the Royal Family’s dirty linen in public in a Netflix series and now this memoir has backfired on the couple.

Among the 18-24 age group, which has long been more sympathetic to the couple, 35 percent thought better of Harry for writing the memoir compared to only 20 percent who thought worse of him. But in every other age group Harry’s reputation had suffered more than it had improved and Meghan was in negative territory even in the youngest group.

Those same 18-24-year-olds also narrowly voted by 37 percent against 36 percent in favour of stripping Harry and Meghan of their titles.

William and Kate look relaxed in first outing since Harry’s book

Andy Williams, a political and reputation management consultant, said Harry had suffered a backlash from the public after condemning the monarchy, invading the privacy of his family and complaining about his lifestyle despite being incredibly wealthy and wanting to retain his royal status and privileges. “There is a massive contradiction at the heart of all his criticisms,” he said. “I do also think there is an elemement of him wanting to have his cake and eat it.”

Mr Williams, a director at PR company Penta, conceded that the monarchy had escaped serious damage from the controversy so far but suggested the crisis should spark a modernisation of the institution if it wanted to remain relevant to younger people, perhaps by stepping up campaigning on issues such as combatting climate change.

“It begs the question, what is the role of a modern monarchy?” he said, arguing that the King needed to establish what his reign will stands for now.

“It feels like there is another process of modernisation that needs to happen – 1997 with Diana’s death was obviously a watershed moment and I think the monarchy realised at that moment it needed to adapt or die. And I think this is another adapt or die moment.”

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