Royal sentiment revealed

It’s official: older Australians love the Royals and are more than happy to remain under the monarchy, YourLifeChoices’ latest poll reveals.

In our Friday Flash Poll: Do we need a Royal flush?, which garnered just under 1500 responses, 52 per cent of the survey participants are in favour of Australia remaining a part of the Commonwealth under royal rule.

Ironically, more people born in the UK, or with parents born in the UK were more in favour of pulling away from Old Mother England. Of the 412 born or with parents born in the UK, 57 per cent were in favour of Australia becoming a republic, with just 36 per cent opposed, compared to 41 per cent of respondents without UK links (or heritage) who favoured a republic, and 49 per cent who opposed.

Conducted during Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex’s visit to open the Invictus Games last week in Sydney, the poll stirred royalists, republicans and ‘the undecided’. The result … a clear majority declared their love for the monarchy and co, with 64 per cent saying they either like or love the Royals.

While the love for ‘the Firm’ is certainly evident, it may be largely due to the affection Australians have for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, with 74 per cent of respondents saying the pair have definitely reinvigorated the royal image.

“Love them! Meghan and Harry bring so much joy to the world, a glimpse of light, a modern fairy tale!” wrote YourLifeChoices member Ms Logik.

Still, when asked who was their favourite, Queen Elizabeth II is the clear winner, with 37 per cent declaring our regent as the most preferred Royal. Prince Harry came in second with 23 per cent of the vote, followed by Prince William with 10 per cent.

While Prince Harry was the most favoured male Royal, his popularity, according to our members, would not be enough for him to assume the throne. That honour goes to his brother William, with 50 per cent of respondents saying he should be the next king, followed by 20 per cent preferring Prince Charles and just five per cent voting for Harry.

“The younger royals such as Prince Harry are good for the world. Prince Harry does a lot for mental health and good on him for speaking out as they are important issues. I loved the way he embraced Lune the little boy with Down Syndrome. He is shown to be all inclusive just like his mother was. Cannot imagine the older royals getting down at eye level with a lad with special needs. Good on you Harry. Just as well he is not in line to the throne because he needs to be free to be involved and speak out on important social issues. It would cost too much money to become a republic. That money is better spent fixing hospitals and housing homeless people,” commented KB.

It also seemed that Harry and Meghan’s royal visit, and not-so-surprise announcement of a royal baby, took the attention away from HRH Eugenie’s wedding last week, as just 34 per cent said they were interested in the nuptials of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s daughter.

The survey also showed that more than half would attend a royal visit if it was in their neighbourhood.  

“Royal visits bring joy and fun to us. Great for those whose spirits need a lift. The farmers in Dubbo loved them. Don’t know any republic that I would want to copy, especially USA. We are doing well with what we have, thank you,” wrote Young.

Reasons for royal popularity given by YourLifeChoices members varied from the political to the economical. The charitable acts they perform are certainly welcomed, as is the fact that they just make people happy.

“The Royals come here to raise awareness and support very important issues. They raise quillions of pounds/dollars for charities. In my time, there have been no wars between countries that have a monarchy. There is no better example to our youth than the gracious, circumspect Queen. Unlike the ungracious politician Turnbull and other bleating, narcissists of his ilk – who would ever choose a type like those as head of our country. We even get politically appointed dud governors-general, so I want to stay as we are. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” wrote Swinging Voter.

“I think the principle of monarchy is being hidden under the popularity idea, which is so shallow. The current Royal family hold their difficult position with dignity and restraint; their personal characteristics are part of the role model function which they now perform with diligence and liberal, generous self-sacrifice. But the poll is only covering the shallow aspect of whether they are ‘popular’. We are not kids, are we? The monarchy frees us from the meaningless total load of ‘nationalism’; it unites peoples under a principle that a leader, without power, is someone we honour for giving his/her life compulsorily to occupy that symbolic position beyond politics and aspiring to goodness. Old-time monarchs were despots perhaps; not now, the British monarchy, the Danish, the Dutch. In these days where any biased fool can be the political leader, a powerless, objective monarchy is all the more valuable and essential as a standard for political activity to measure against. A poll might more sensibly ask, ‘does a benign monarchy such as we are fortunate to have, add a moderating influence, of restraint, humanity and love, to our Government?’ [The answer is] Yes,” commented Heskwith.

Regardless of political viewpoints, Harry and Meghan’s visit has certainly left a mark on many Australians and, according to our poll, their charitable work along with the positive sentiment they bring are better to be embraced, not criticised.

“Prince Harry and Meghan came as ambassadors of the Invictus Games to be there and support the members of the armed services who, with their families, have met with life changing injuries. From all around the world they have come together, in Sydney, to live on in strength and unity. So, save your politics for another day and be grateful for your life and your allies. Because quite frankly in just a few short days Prince Harry and Meghan have given so much hope and happiness to so many. Have you?” wrote Rosret.

As to whether Australia should become a republic, only 40 per cent said yes, with 52 per cent saying they’re happy with the current system and eight per cent being undecided. These results largely reflect those of the Australian republic referendum in 1999. In that nationwide poll, 54 per cent of Australians said they would prefer to stay under royal rule.

From the comments made by members, the dilemma of whom to choose as head of state is a prevailing reason for remaining under the monarchy. Some though, express the general sentiment of many Australians – that it may be time for our nation to ‘grow up’, but bemoan that we are left with less-than-desirable alternatives as head of state.

In 1999, the republic referendum was defeated for the same reasons and, for some, those feelings remain today.

“I am more than a little concerned about how we would go about choosing a head of state, and how much power they might have. Just look at the US! On the other hand, it is a tad regressive to keep this old connection to British royalty. Put me in the undecided category,” wrote Jenny.

One thing is for sure: older Australians and, judging by the massive turnout for the most recent royal visit, many younger Aussies, love the Prince and the Duchess and the monarchy is here to stay … for the foreseeable future.

Are you surprised by these results? Do you think there is any need to revive the republic debate for a nationwide vote? Or would the money be better spent elsewhere?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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