Less than half of people in Scotland say they support preserving the monarchy, according to a major new poll revealing the cultural divides within the union.
Nearly six in ten people across Britain want to keep the monarchy for the foreseeable future, and just a quarter say the end of the Queen’s reign would be an opportune time for Britain to become a republic . The vast majority, some 85%, expect Britain to still have a monarchy ten years from now.
However, the poll, by Britain’s Futures think tank, found that just 45% in Scotland said they wanted to keep the monarchy – and 36% said the end of the Queen’s reign would be the right time to move to a republic. moving away. About 19% rejected the choice or said they did not know.
It also revealed weaker support among young people and ethnic minorities across Britain. Only 40% of 18-24 year-olds supported the preservation of the monarchy, while 37% of ethnic minority people did.
The revelations come at a pivotal time for the monarchy as Prince Charles takes on more of the Queen’s most important public duties. Last week he gave the Queen’s first speech after she had to withdraw due to mobility problems. The occasion marks one of the most important ceremonial duties of the monarch. Her absence came just weeks before her platinum anniversary.
The four-day celebration includes several outings for the Queen, including a service at St Paul’s Cathedral. The palace has said it currently plans to attend.
British Future’s research revealed clear problems in certain groups. Younger people were ambivalent about the future of the monarchy, with 37% believing that the end of the Queen’s reign would be the right time to move on and become a republic. Only 36% of 16-18 year olds agree that “we must preserve the monarchy for the foreseeable future”.
The marked decline in support for the monarchy in Scotland compared to Britain as a whole also comes at a time when the union is under constant pressure. The SNP has said it is committed to preserving the monarchy if Scotland votes for independence. A Panelbase poll last summer, which was worded differently from the British Future survey, found that 47% of Scottish adults would vote to keep a royal head of state, compared to 35% who would favor an elected head of state .
Further growing splits were noted in attitudes toward other symbols of national identity, such as the union flag. Most respondents associate it with the monarchy (72%), Team GB (71%) and the armed forces (68%).
However, a quarter of people (25%) associate it with racism and extremism – a 10-point increase since 2012. The English flag is more controversial. While 60% of the public and 62% of minority groups think it represents pride and patriotism, nearly a third of the public as a whole (32%) view it as racism and extremism, including 43% of those who belong to ethnic minorities .
There have also been suggestions that the upcoming anniversary could be used as a means to further unite the British, but there has been a relative lack of interest in Scotland. Only 48% of people north of the border are interested in the anniversary – fewer than said they were interested in the World Cup in December, despite Scotland not yet qualifying.
This is in contrast to 73% of people in Wales and two-thirds across England who are interested in next month’s events.
The findings are included in an upcoming British Futures report looking at how attitudes have changed in the 10 years since the last anniversary. A poll was conducted by FocalData for the research. Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said the anniversary was an opportunity to unite the country: “Great events can bring people together if done in an inclusive way that increases their reach and appeal,” he said. “It would be good for our society – and also for the monarchy, to meet some of the challenges it faces in order to remain relevant in modern Britain, particularly Scotland.”