The Votes Are In For 2020’s Most Popular Royal – And The Results May Surprise You
It’s no secret that the royal family is eternally popular: crack open any celebrity magazine, and you’re sure to find their faces smiling back at you. But each prince, princess, duke, and duchess isn’t equally as beloved by the public. YouGov tallied their opinions to create a top-ten list of most popular English royals – and that roster might surprise you.
It has, as always, been a headline-grabbing year for the Royal Family, who has seen a lot of change in their ranks since New Year’s Day. At the start of 2020, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, made a shocking announcement that they’d be stepping back from their duties as members of the Windsor clan. But they did so without first consulting with the Queen, a move that led many to condemn their choice.
Harry and Meghan left the U.K. for the U.S., where they felt they could give their son a public scrutiny-free upbringing. And they started a charitable outpost throughout which they could continue helping others. That’s par for the course for the royals, though, and the rest of them continued their activism and acts of goodwill on British soil.
Other family members had once-in-a-lifetime milestones, too. Princess Beatrice, for one, got married to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a surprise July ceremony. The same year marked Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s 73rd wedding anniversary as well. And the royals lent their support to the public as they went through the tumultuous events of 2020 too.
At the end of it all, YouGov tallied public opinion on the adult royal family members. They analyzed which age groups – Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials – preferred which princes, princesses, dukes, and duchesses. They gathered data from the British public to figure out who they liked best – and who didn’t make the top ten might surprise you. Spoiler alert: don’t expect to see Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Prince Edward, or Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on the list.
YouGov ranked Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as the tenth-most popular royal, as determined by the British public. Sophie is married to Prince Edward, who is the Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn. When his father passes away, he will become the Duke of Edinburgh, making his wife a duchess.
The public who ranked Sophie, Countess of Wessex as their tenth-favorite royal described her as loyal, admirable, a good role model, attractive, and in touch with the average Brit, according to YouGov. Indeed, she has dedicated her life to full-time service of the royal family, supporting several organizations and charities.
Sophie has only continued her service in 2020, which could have to do with her appearance on the top-ten list. In November, for example, she spoke as part of the Women Mediators across the Commonwealth Network. When the royal family posted a photo of her orating, compliments flooded in from social media users. One wrote, “Love how the Countess of Wessex works quietly behind the scenes with no fuss and bother. She is a marvel.”
Coming in at number nine is a royal family member who had the opposite experience to Sophie, Countess of Wessex. The unending scrutiny of the British press pushed Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and her husband, Prince Harry, to leave their royal posts in January 2020.
In spite of her and her husband’s shocking decision to leave the family and the U.K., Meghan still ranked ninth on YouGov’s list of the most popular royals. Those who voted in support of the American duchess described her as attractive, beautiful, charming, confident, and admirable.
Perhaps nothing Meghan has done in 2020 embodies these qualities quite like an opinion piece she wrote for The New York Times in November. In it, the Duchess of Sussex revealed to the world that she had suffered a miscarriage, writing about the “unspeakable grief” she and Prince Harry felt as she “clutched [her] firstborn child, that [she] was losing [her] second.”
The public lauded Meghan for opening up to the world about such a painful experience in spite of the royal family’s usual stiff upper lip. Midwife Sophie King told style magazine Harper’s Bazaar, “Her honesty and openness has sent a powerful message to anyone who loses a baby: This may feel incredibly lonely, but you are not alone…”
Still, Meghan’s transparency wasn’t enough to push her up the ranks in popularity, according to YouGov. Ahead of the Duchess of Sussex on the list is Princess Anne’s only daughter: Zara Phillips. Brits will know that she is an accomplished equestrian, competing for her home country at the 2012 Olympics – and taking home the silver medal.
Next up on the list is the seventh-most popular royal family member, who happens to be the third-most famous of them all. Ninety-nine percent of all those surveyed by YouGov have heard of Prince Harry, and 42 percent of them have a positive opinion of the fire-haired son of Princess Diana.
Those who told YouGov that they liked Prince Harry had a slew of kind descriptors for him. They described him as fun loving and humorous, as well as confident, likeable, and admirable. He proved the most famous with Millennial participants, who actually ranked him as their fifth-favorite royal overall.
Of course, 2020 was a decisive – and divisive year – for Prince Harry. He and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, made the unexpected decision to step down from their royal duties. He pinned the decision on the British press, saying he wanted to protect his family – and nearly a third of the public strongly supported that choice, according to a separate YouGov survey.
The quieter life he sought brought Prince Harry, Meghan, and their son, Archie, to Montecito, California. From there, the royal couple will work on their next venture, which could raise their standing in next year’s poll. They signed a deal with Netflix to produce everything from kids’ shows to documentaries for the streaming platform.
It’s almost hard to believe that Prince Harry doesn’t land higher on the list – or at least higher than his father, Prince Charles. In the past – even earlier in 2020 – YouGov found Harry to be much higher in the public opinion. Yet he slid downward by 19 points and proved less popular than his father, who also lost seven popularity points over the course of 2020.