We like you but we don't want to pay for you, Canadians tell Prince Harry in new poll
TORONTO -- Canadians aren’t especially thrilled by the part-time relocation to Canada of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, despite being big fans of Prince Harry himself, according to a new poll.
In the poll, 69 per cent of respondents reported that they hold favourable views of Harry – a higher level of support than any other prominent royal.
Older Canadians are slightly fonder of some of Harry’s relatives than they are of him. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents aged 55 or older said they have a favourable view of him, compared to 77 per cent for his brother, Prince William, and 75 per cent for his grandmother, the Queen.
Harry was also more likely to be viewed as a celebrity than a working member of the Royal Family, in stark contrast to his brother, his father Prince Charles and the Queen.
CANADIANS AND THE ROYALS
The poll, which was released Wednesday, is based on an online survey of 1,154 Canadian adults – representative of the general population in age, sex, income and education – that took place earlier this week, during the height of the royal drama. It was commissioned, paid for and conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
It comes at a key moment in the relationship between Canada and the Royal Family, as Buckingham Palace announced this week that Harry and Meghan will divide their time between the U.K. and Canada while they step back from their official duties as senior royals.
Many questions about the move remain unanswered, including where in Canada the couple plan to live and if they will continue to receive the security protection typically afforded to senior royals.
The RCMP has paid to protect royals during past visits to Canada, but nothing has been said publicly about what security might be in place for a longer-term stay or who will pay for it. The Prime Minister’s Office has told CTVNews.ca that there are “still many discussions to be had” on the topic.
If the Angus Reid poll is any indication, however, it seems Canadians may prefer those discussions to be brief and firm. According to a commentary that accompanied the poll, Canadians are not “eager to subsidize the couple’s living costs when they’re in the country.” Only three per cent of respondents said the Canadian government should pick up the entire tab for Harry and Meghan, while 73 per cent said the Sussexes should pay for their own security and other costs.
Despite the lack of interest in taxpayer-funded security for the royal couple, the poll suggests Canadians are watching the developments playing out among the Royal Family with great interest. Seventy per cent of respondents reported following the stories out of Buckingham Palace closely, with that number rising to 84 per cent among those aged 55 or higher.
Women are a little more likely than men to be invested in the royal drama. Interest in the ongoing tumult was also found to increase with age, income and education level.
Canadians’ current curiosity in royal affairs also seems to be more about the journey than its destination. A full 50 per cent of respondents said they don’t care if Harry and Meghan settle in Canada, while 39 per cent said they would be pleased and 11 per cent said they would be upset.
This support was generally consistent across each region of the country, with the exceptions of Quebec and Atlantic Canada. In Quebec, where monarchist sentiment is low, only 27 per cent of respondents said they would be pleased to have Harry and Meghan in Canada, while only two per cent of Atlantic Canadians said they would be upset by it.
BUT WHAT COMES NEXT?
The vast majority of Canadians have only ever known one sovereign. Only about 15 per cent of the current Canadian population was alive at the time of the Queen’s coronation in 1952.
Given that so many of us have always seen the monarchy and the Queen as one and the same, it’s perhaps not surprising that Angus Reid’s findings suggest uncertainty about what Canada’s relationship with the Royal Family should look like after the Queen’s death.
A majority of respondents – 57 per cent – said they would oppose Canada recognizing Prince Charles as king, even though he is the Queen’s natural heir. There was more support for the next royal in line to the throne, Prince William, to succeed the Queen, but it was still somewhat muted at 58 per cent. Younger and lower-income respondents were more likely to oppose either Charles or William ascending to power.
Overall, 41 per cent of respondents described the monarchy as no longer relevant at all and 25 per cent as becoming less relevant, while only four per cent said it is more relevant than ever. Again, age and income played roles, with older and more affluent Canadians being more invested in the monarchy’s future.
There was also a notable skew in the results in B.C., where Harry and Meghan spent time over Christmas and Meghan has been spotted several times this week, drawing speculation that the couple might be planning on making it their Canadian home. Here, 53 per cent of respondents described the monarchy as losing relevance – a big number, but a far smaller one than was reported in any other part of the country.
“As an institution in Canadian life, most in this country say the Royal Family has lost relevance,” Angus Reid’s commentary reads.
When asked whether Canada should remain a constitutional monarchy generations into the future, 39 per cent of respondents said yes and 45 per cent said no. Support for constitutional monarchy remained the preferred option in most parts of the country, but the national number flipped largely due to strong opposition in Quebec (69 per cent) and more muted opposition in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (47 per cent).
Most of those who preferred to retain the monarchy said it was because they enjoy being part of the Commonwealth. Another 31 per cent cited tradition, while 11 per cent – including 19 per cent of younger respondents – said it was because it would be too difficult to change Canada’s constitutional structure.
Among those who wanted to bring an end to constitutional monarchy at some point, there was no clear consensus about what should replace it.
The uncertainty was consistent across most demographics, although men were much more likely than women to prefer an elected head of state and head of government, similar to the U.S. president, while women were twice as likely as men to say that they don’t know what should replace the monarchy.