Prince William’s stance on protecting Royal Family’s privacy may harden after popularity poll | UK News

For a family used to riding out more than a few storms in recent decades, the past couple of weeks have probably felt like another substantial battering.

On the weekend the front page of one of the UK’s leading newspapers declared: “If the royal family is not quite at the 11th hour… it is perilously close.”

But at Sky News, we’d already been wondering if things had really got that bad.

There’s no doubt the serious health concerns and subsequent “photogate” involving the Princess of Wales have raised legitimate questions, but our poll appears to show it hasn’t been as damaging as we may be tempted to portray.

Let’s first take the matter of whether the family has shared enough about their health problems. It seems everyone wants to have a good chat about what they think is wrong with the Princess of Wales, but most people asked in our poll actually think she’s shared the right amount of detail about her abdominal surgery.

The number wanting to know more from Kate is, however, much higher than for the King – who announced he has been diagnosed with cancer last month. That’s probably not surprising when you look at the amount of social media traffic about her, as opposed to the monarch.

Britain's William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince George, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Mia Tindall attend the Royal Family's Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene's church, as the Royals take residence at the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Britain December 25, 2023. REUTERS/Chris Radburn
The family was last seen in public on Christmas Day. Pic: Reuters

But it is interesting when you consider the significant levels of criticism King Charles faced over the years, and questions about whether he’d be accepted as King; this appears to be confirmation that people think he’s done just the right thing in being open about his cancer diagnosis.

The answers around trust are even more fascinating. The altered Mother’s Day photograph was an uncharacteristic low point for the Prince and Princess of Wales, probably best illustrated by the fact that worldwide picture agencies have now said they’ll be taking a much closer look at anything they hand out in the future.

But for all the discussions around transparency, fake news and their reputation, most people in our poll still trust them the same as they did before it all blew up. You could say it is a sign of how powerful their brand really is – a well-liked and highly respected couple, who most would say rarely put a foot wrong, especially the princess.

One interesting set of results is around trust and Queen Camilla. Since the King was diagnosed with cancer, she couldn’t have been more visible, carrying out her own engagements but also stepping in and stepping up for her husband.

And yet our poll shows that people continue to have divided opinions about her. Compared to the King, William and Kate – who the majority say they trust – it’s almost an equal split on whether people do or don’t trust Camilla.

The vilification of her as the “third person” in Charles’s previous marriage has had a lasting effect and there will always be some she just can’t win over.

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We also asked people about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Four years after they left the UK, and not entirely surprisingly, it appears that time is not a healer.

It’s still Harry and Meghan who come bottom of the poll when it comes to levels of trust, even though for once it’s Kate who made a mistake.

As for all the rumours and conspiracy theories about the princess, it was mainly those people aged between 18 and 49 years old who said they’d heard people discussing theories about why the princess is absent from public view. A possible indicator of how much the interest in this story has been driven by rumours on social media – before the Mother’s Day picture and subsequent photo-altering saga firmly threw it back into the mainstream.

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‘Happy and smiling’ Princess of Wales filmed out shopping with Prince William

We know that Prince William in particular has been angered by the hype around his family and the ongoing speculation, and it’s hard to see how it’s going to quieten down with the possibility that we may not see Kate at an official engagement for at least another month; the children’s Easter break doesn’t end until 17 April.

But signs that it hasn’t had a substantial impact on how they’re perceived, or whether they’re trusted, will no doubt be viewed as a positive by a couple and a palace who continue to go through difficult times.

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