The crown on a black background is illuminated by a golden beam. Low-key image of a beautiful queen / royal crown Vintage is filtered. Fantasy of the medieval period. Battle for the Throne.
Yurii Kifor/istockphoto

Which Royals Americans Adore – and Which Ones They Can't Stand

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The crown on a black background is illuminated by a golden beam. Low-key image of a beautiful queen / royal crown Vintage is filtered. Fantasy of the medieval period. Battle for the Throne.
Yurii Kifor/istockphoto

Who's Queen (or King) of Our Hearts?

It seemed like a sad day that would never come, but the U.K.'s much beloved Queen Elizabeth II has passed away at age 96, sending the nation into mourning. Her death comes just a year and a half after her husband, Prince Philip, died at age 99. Though the British royal family has long been a source of fascination for Americans, that doesn't mean they're all universally loved — some may even be loathed. A recent YouGov survey suggests Americans love some royals — and love to hate some others.


Related: The Reasons You Don't Really Want to Be a Royal

Princess Diana
Princess Diana by Joe Haupt (CC BY-SA)

Lady Diana Spencer

No surprise here: Princess Diana remains the most popular royal even 25 years after her tragic death in Paris. A hefty 38% of Americans have a very favorable impression of Diana, and another 26% say their impression is somewhat favorable. Her memory lives on in what seems like an endless stream of TV and movie portrayals. Most recently, Kristin Stewart secured a best-actress Oscar nod for portraying Diana in “Spencer.”


Related: Photos of Incredible Castles Around the World

The Queen at 90
The Queen at 90 by Michael Garnett (CC BY-NC-SA)

Queen Elizabeth II

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch is a decisive No. 2 in the hearts of Americans, with 28% saying their impression is very favorable, and 33% somewhat favorable. Before she passed away, the 96-year-old queen recovered from a case of COVID-19 that forced her to cancel several engagements, and appeared well during her Platinum Jubilee celebration, four days of pomp and circumstance to mark her 70 years on the throne.


Related: The Oldest World Leaders Currently in Power

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Visits The Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Visits The Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day by Defence Imagery (CC BY-NC)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Kate Middleton, a regular gal who married her college sweetheart (who just happened to be Prince William) rates relatively well with Americans: 20% have a very favorable impression of her, while 30% say their impression is somewhat favorable. Kate has become a full-blown fashion icon, with breathless coverage of everything from her iconic wedding dress to her day-to-day clothing.

HRH Prince William Duke of Cambridge
HRH Prince William Duke of Cambridge by World Bank Photo Collection (CC BY-NC-ND)

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Prince William is close behind his wife, earning a very favorable impression from 19% of Americans and a somewhat favorable impression from 32%. William, of course, is second in line to the throne after Prince Charles, and William's first-born son, Prince George, is third in line.

Prince Harry, wearing uniform of the Blues & Royals. Waves from a Ascot Landau.
Prince Harry, wearing uniform of the Blues & Royals. Waves from a Ascot Landau. by Michael Garnett (CC BY-NC-SA)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

Though the same percentage of Americans, 19%, have a very favorable impression of Prince Harry, a smaller percentage, 28%, say their impression is somewhat favorable. Granted, Prince Harry has made some waves lately, resigning as a working member of the royal family in early 2021 after intense media scrutiny of his marriage to Meghan Markle.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
NataliaCatalina/istockphoto

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Being American has only gotten Meghan so far in the hearts of her countrymen and women: 18% have a very favorable impression, and 25% have a somewhat favorable impression. Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah, during which they described relentless criticism from British tabloids and racism within the royal family, drew 17.1 million viewers. Meghan is also among the most polarizing royal figures, with 21% of Americans saying they have a very unfavorable impression, while 13% view her somewhat unfavorably. In an interview with The Cut, Meghan detailed the lengths she went to try and fit into the royal family and believes there's room for forgiveness between her and members of the family.

Anne, Princess Royal
Anne, Princess Royal by Chatham House (CC BY)

Princess Ann, The Princess Royal

Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter earns a very favorable impression from 10% of Americans, and a somewhat favorable one from 23%. She attracted a bit more attention stateside after she was portrayed in recent episodes of Netflix’s “The Crown.” Though she was second in line to the throne when she was born, she has fallen to 17th today.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex by Frankie Fouganthin (CC BY-SA)

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Perhaps the least well-known royal on this list, Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child, earns a very favorable impression from 8% of Americans and a somewhat favorable impression from 22%. But 52% say they simply don’t know enough about him to decide either way.

Charles, Prince of Wales in Jersey on 18 July 2012.
Charles, Prince of Wales in Jersey on 18 July 2012. by Dan Marsh (CC BY-SA)

Charles, Prince of Wales

As Charles patiently awaits his chance to become King of England, it’s telling that only 7% of Americans have a very favorable impression of him, while 25% claim a somewhat favorable impression. The numbers are a lot more resolute on the other side of the scale: 19% of Americans have a very unfavorable impression. Perhaps most stinging for the Prince of Wales: 30% of Americans say they would rather Charles’ son, Prince William, become king instead, while just 17% say Charles should be king.

Honorary Rear Admiral HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of Kent speaks at the  Battle of the Atlantic Charity Reception and Dinner onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS in London
Honorary Rear Admiral HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of Kent speaks at the Battle of the Atlantic Charity Reception and Dinner onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS in London by Royal Navy Media Archive (CC BY-NC)

Prince Andrew, Duke of York

Only 6% of Americans have a very favorable impression of Prince Andrew, while 16% have a somewhat favorable impression. Compare that to 35% and 14% with a very unfavorable and somewhat unfavorable impression, respectively. Undoubtedly affecting the numbers: Allegations that Prince Andrew sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking victims, when she was 17. The case resulted in a confidential settlement, and Prince Andrew has been stripped of his public duties and military titles. 

The Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge ride together from the Palace to Horseguards.
The Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge ride together from the Palace to Horseguards. by Michael Garnett (CC BY-NC-SA)

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Despite Prince Andrew’s massive scandal, it is Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, who earns the title of least popular royal, at least where Americans are concerned. Only 5% have a very favorable impression of her, while 21% have a somewhat favorable impression; a combined 46% have a very unfavorable or somewhat unfavorable impression. Queen Elizabeth seems to want unity, however. She recently said she wants Camilla, still blamed by many for the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, to be known as Queen Consort when Charles ascends to the throne.