A new poll of public opinion in the UK is bad news for Prince Charles. Research conducted by FTI Consulting on behalf of the Australian Republic Movement shows that almost two-in-three Brits – 63% or those surveyed – do not want Prince Charles to replace the Queen when she dies.
The largest group prefers another member of the British royal family.
"Australia will have a new head of state within a few years. The only question is who," says Australian Republic Movement CEO and National Director Michael Cooney.
"Will we have a hereditary King Charles III who does not even command the support of the British people – or will we have an Australian, chosen by Australians?"
Remarkably, only 39% of those polled said they trust the man who will be King of England and could be King of Australia.
"The British public has come to know Prince Charles over many decades – and these results show they hardly trust him at all," says Mr Cooney. "Why should we?"
The results show monarchists can no longer rely on an argument for stability.
“Change is coming, and the only question is what kind," Mr Cooney says.
"A new head of state is inevitable – but an Australian republic is not. Australians can only vote no to King Charles by choosing a republic."
“Australia must have this debate now, before we end up with King Charles as our head of state. We are a democracy and we should set our own timetable, not wait for someone else to decide. Australia should have a national vote by 2020 on the key questions so that we can change our constitution by 2022."
The institution of the monarchy itself may be in doubt, with 57% of respondents agreeing with the statement “hereditary rule is not appropriate in this modern era.”
This rises to 67% among those aged under 35. Eighty per cent (80%) of respondents agreed that a country’s head of state “should only be a citizen of that country,” rejecting on principle the current situation in Australia (of having a foreign head of state).
Awareness of Australia’s predicament is lesser known in the UK, with 33% holding the view that the Prime Minister was Australia’s head of state, rather than the British Queen (29%). Only 17% of those polled thought the Queen is best placed to embody the ‘spirit of Australia’ as head of state. More than half (53%) said she embodied the spirit of the United Kingdom.
The poll of 2531 respondents was conducted between 25 and 28 August 2017.
It has a margin of error of 1.9%. The ARM is campaigning for a national vote by 2020 to decide whether Australia should have an Australian as head of state and how that head of state should be chosen.