Sunday, 25 Jul 2021

Prince Charles consoled Barack Obama after heartfelt confession: ‘I don’t believe that!’

Prince Charles visits the Duke of York Inn pub in Devon

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Interest in the British monarchy spans the globe, but in the US it occupies a special place, spurred in recent years by the impact of media productions and real-life events. These range from successful TV shows such as The Crown and the marriage of American actress Meghan Markle to Prince Harry. News of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relocation to California made headlines in the US but even minor royals don’t go unnoticed.

James Vaughn, assistant director of British Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, told the BBC in 2018: “The status Britain’s monarchy has in US popular culture is extreme and a 20th century phenomenon.

“In the 18th and 19th Centuries the monarchy was viewed as the chief of the Old World, a redoubt of privilege and hereditary status, at odds with the new Republic’s freedom. [But] the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was a huge event in the US, and the phenomenon has continued from there.”

Even former US president Barack Obama was aware of his country’s fascination with the Royal Family.

According to a 2015 report by The Telegraph, Prince Charles was forced to offer some consoling words to Mr Obama after the US president observed that the American public preferred British royals to their own politicians.

As the pair posed for the cameras in the Oval Office five years ago, Mr Obama said: “I think it’s fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the Royal Family.

“They like them much better than they like their own politicians.”

The Prince of Wales rebutted: “I don’t believe that.”

He then tried to rescue the moment by recalling his visit to the home of revolutionary leader George Washington the day before.

He said: “I tell you what was nice was going back to Mount Vernon yesterday.”

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Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was wearing an oyster-coloured coat-dress and a diamond brooch and sat on a sofa to her husband’s right as the two men made small-talk for the cameras during their three-day visit to Washington DC and Louisville, Kentucky.

According to a throwback report by The Guardian, it was not entirely clear whether the comments were intended just for public consumption either.

The report said: “Though carried out in front of a pack of several dozen journalists during a so-called ‘pool spray’ before their private meeting, the quiet exchange could not be heard by those standing just a couple of feet away.

“Instead, it was picked up by a boom mike deployed by an Associated Press radio journalist and relayed by a White House pool reporter.”

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At the time, the former US President’s personal approval ratings had been “under water” for much of his second term.

His weekly Gallup rating languished at 47 percent.

Meanwhile, a CNN poll of American voters from 2012 found the Queen with an 82 percent approval rating, with Prince William on 77 percent and Prince Charles at 57 percent – ten points higher than his host.

According to a more recent YouGov poll commissioned by the Economist in 2019, Her Majesty is still the most favourable of the entire British monarchy in the US.

The poll, of 1,500 American adults, asked “do you have a favourable or an unfavourable opinion of the following people”, and proceeded to list senior members of the Royal Family.

Respondents could answer “very favourable”, “somewhat favourable”, “somewhat unfavourable”, “very unfavourable” and “don’t know”.

The Queen came out on top in the poll, with 69 percent choosing either “very favourable” or “somewhat favourable”.

The late Princess Diana and her sons Prince William and Prince Harry also received significant backing.

Princess Diane, Prince William and Prince Harry came in joint second, with 63 percent.

Sister-in-laws Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton trailed their husbands, on 58 percent and 61 percent respectively.

Older members of the Royal Family received mid-level popularity. favourability.

Prince Charles, the first in line to the throne, received mixed backing from the American respondents.

42 percent said they viewed him favourably, only slightly ahead of those who deemed him unfavourable (34 percent).

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