Prince Harry's Mzansi fans will be tuning in for the royal wedding
A poll shows that Prince Harry - who first visited South Africa as a child shortly after his mother Princess Diana died - is the most popular British royal in Mzansi‚ with an approval rating of 42%.
And half of the country is predicted to be tuning in on Saturday to watch a live broadcast of the American actress Meghan Markle marry the British prince - who supports orphans in Lesotho and is an energetic fundraiser for HIV/Aids initiatives as well as conservation causes on the continent. Markle already has a 19% approval rating from South Africans.
This is according to a global Ipsos survey‚ carried out online in 28 countries including South Africa in the run-up to the royal wedding. Its authors do‚ however‚ note that the survey included South Africans who have regular internet access and therefore represents that portion of the population rather than being fully representative.
WHICH MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY ARE LIKED THE MOST?
The survey‚ carried out online among adults aged under 65‚ finds that the Queen and Prince Harry are the most liked members of the royal family overall around the world‚ each picked by 23% on average. Globally‚ next come the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge‚ chosen by 17% and 18% respectively‚ and their children George and Charlotte (picked by 10% and 9%). In this question‚ respondents could choose more than one option.
Different countries have their different favourites. In South Africa‚ Prince Harry is the most liked member (42%)‚ ahead of the Queen (30%). This is compared to 25% of South Africans who have regard for Prince William‚ and 23% for the Duchess of Cambridge‚ Catherine aka Kate Middleton. Megan Markle has already gained affection from 19% of the South African population.
The Queen is the most liked in ten of the 28 countries (including India‚ China and Brazil)‚ while Prince Harry is the most popular in eight (including Britain‚ Australia‚ South Africa and Saudi Arabia).
The Duchess of Cambridge is the most liked in the United States‚ while her husband is the most popular in France.
WHO WILL BE WATCHING THE WEDDING?
When it comes to the upcoming wedding itself‚ around one in four (27%) worldwide say they are at least fairly interested in news about it.
South Africans show the second highest interest levels (49%) after India (54%)‚ much higher than the global average.
Spain (8%)‚ Sweden‚ Japan (both 12%)‚ Serbia (13%) and France (15%) are least engaged.
Just over a third of those in Great Britain say that they are interested in the royal wedding.
WHAT IMPACT DOES THE ROYAL FAMILY HAVE ON THE IMAGE OF THE UK?
When asked what impact the royal family has on their views of Britain‚ around half on average (51%) say it makes no difference. Amongst those who do have an opinion‚ though‚ the royal family does have a net beneficial effect‚ by 23% to 11%.
In 22 of the countries surveyed‚ the impact on Britain’s reputation is more positive than negative - especially in Romania‚ with a net positive impact score (positive impact minus negative impact) of +33‚ India (+27)‚ Malaysia (+26)‚ Saudi Arabia (+25) and Brazil (+24). Views in France are finely balanced‚ while in four countries the royals have a net negative impact on views of Britain: Chile (-4)‚ Spain (-5)‚ Turkey (-6) and most notably Argentina (-10).
Having said that‚ Ipsos noted that the royal family does tend to reinforce perceptions of the UK as a traditional country.
When asked to pick from a list which attributes they associate with the UK because of the royal family‚ “traditional” is picked most‚ by 48% on average (57% in South Africa) – only 9% choose “modern”. This is followed by two more positive associations – “powerful”‚ picked by 22%‚ and “self-confident”‚ picked by 17%. Fifteen per cent say the royal family makes them think the UK is “an unequal society” – higher in countries with a more negative attitude such as Argentina‚ Chile and Turkey.
South Africans also identify with the words powerful (40%)and self-confident (27%) when describing their perception of the UK that the British royal family reinforces.
The majority of connected South Africans (54%) feel that the royal family makes them feel no different with regards to their feelings about the UK and 41% believe that it would make no difference if the royal family was abolished. (compared to 38% globally)
When it comes to their own constitutions‚ and more general attitudes to a monarchy‚ there is little appetite around the world for changing the status quo. Around half in Canada and Australia‚ where the Queen is currently head of state‚ think that abolishing the monarchy would make no difference to their country’s future‚ and only 15% in each think it would make things better. Relatively few in other countries with a monarchy also think that abolishing their monarchy would make things better – only 4% in Japan‚ 17% in Belgium‚ 18% in Malaysia‚ and 23% in Sweden. Spain has the highest proportion in favour of a change‚ at 37%‚ but still shy of a majority.
According to Ipsos‚ 35% of South Africans believe that it would be worse for our country to have a constitutional monarchy instead of an elected head of state. Almost a quarter (24%) believe that it would make the country better.