Sussexes’ popularity hits rock bottom ... and Britons have choice words for them

Duchess and Duke of Sussex - Geoff Pugh/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Duchess and Duke of Sussex - Geoff Pugh/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is at an all-time low, according to two polls released as they prepare to return to the UK for this weekend’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

One survey by JL Partners found just 27 per cent of British adults had a positive opinion of the Duke while even fewer, 22 per cent, thought well of his wife.

Another poll by YouGov found the couple’s favourability has never been worse, with almost two-thirds holding a negative view of them.

It came as the couple are preparing to fly from their £11 million home in Montecito, California, with their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, who turns one on Saturday, for the four-day festivities – joining the rest of the Royal family at official events for the first time since they stepped down from public duties in March 2020.

For the Duchess, it will be the first time she has seen the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the flesh since the couple’s explosive Oprah Winfrey interview, where they accused the family of racism and the Duchess of Sussex claimed the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry during a bridesmaids' dress fitting ahead of the Sussexes’ 2018 wedding.

The Duke of Sussex now holds a net score of -26 among the British public, according to YouGov, compared to -25 from the previous survey in March. Just one in three, 32 per cent, see him in a positive light compared to more than half, 58 per cent, who think of him negatively.

Likewise, his wife’s net favourability also dropped, from -39 to -42 in the latest survey. Only 23 per cent of the public hold a positive outlook on the Duchess while two in three (63 per cent) have a negative view.

JL Partners also asked the 2,010 over-18s it surveyed between May 20-23 to sum up different members of the Royal family “in a word”. The most popular descriptions levelled at the Duke included “idiot”, “stupid”, “spoilt” and “ginger”.

The Duchess attracted the words “manipulative”, “American” and “actress”.

Only the Duke of York proved more unpopular than the Sussexes in both polls, with a five per cent approval rating, according to JL Partners. Asked what word first sprang to mind about the beleaguered Duke, most people said “paedophile”. Other words included “disgrace”, “pervert” and “liar”. The YouGov survey gave him an approval rating of -80.

The Queen, who had a 75 per cent approval rating with just 10 per cent of those surveyed having a negative view of the 96-year-old monarch, was described as “amazing”, “wonderful”, “lovely” and “regal” in the JL Partners survey.

According to YouGov, eight in 10 Britons (81 per cent) held a positive opinion of the Queen, versus the 12 per cent who saw her negatively – giving the monarch a net score of +69.

The Duke of York - Steve Parsons/WPA Pool/Getty Images
The Duke of York - Steve Parsons/WPA Pool/Getty Images

JL Partners found the next most popular Royal to be the Duke of Cambridge on 74 per cent, while the Duchess of Cambridge had a 73 per cent approval rating. Ten per cent of those polled had a negative view of the former compared to nine per cent for the latter.

The second-in-line to the throne was described as “nice”, “king” and “boring” – a label also directed at the Prince of Wales, his father, of whom 46 per cent had a positive view compared to 33 per cent against.

The Duchess of Cornwall was described as “nice”, “supportive” and “loyal”, although she was marginally less popular than her husband, on 42 per cent.

Asked what word they would use to describe the Princess Royal, those polled overwhelmingly said “hardworking”, closely followed by “horsey”. She had a 57 per cent approval rating, with just 12 per cent having a negative opinion of her.

YouGov analysed different age groups for its survey of 1,692 British adults, from May 18 to 19. It found the Queen is also a hit with young people, with three in five (60 per cent) aged 18-24 holding a positive view, compared to one in five (18 per cent) with a negative opinion.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - Chris Jackson/Getty Images
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Sussexes are still seen more positively among younger people, but by a narrower margin. Some 42 per cent of those aged 18-24 see the Duke positively, and 34 per cent see him negatively – a net score of +9. This age group is more closely split over the Duchess with a net score of +2, as 38 per cent view her positively and 36 per cent negatively.

However, other generations view the couple poorly. This includes people aged 25-49 (-4 and -20 respectively), 50-64 (-42 and -61), but most of all by people 65 and over (-65 and -79). Conversely, the Queen is most popular among the over-65s, with a 92 per cent approval rating.

The YouGov poll also showed the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge will have a tough job garnering the same level of approval as the Queen: with more than eight in 10 (84 per cent) Britons thinking that the Queen has done a good job in her 70 years on the throne, including six in 10 (60 per cent) who say she has done a “very good job”.

YouGov tracking data show that the public is split 34 to 37 per cent on whether the Prince of Wales should succeed as king or whether the crown should pass to his more popular eldest son.

The British public tend to think both princes will make good kings should they ascend to the throne, but there is significantly more confidence in the Duke of Cambridge than the Prince of Wales: 77 per cent of the public think he will do a good job as king, compared to 57 per cent for his father.