The only royal with a lower popularity rating than Meghan was the Duke of York, recently embroiled in controversy over his links with the late paedophile businessman Jeffrey Epstein. US-born former actress Meghan has sparked controversy by complaining about the level of scrutiny she has to endure as a member of the Queen’s clan. But the poll found that 46 percent of interviewees did not feel sorry for her.
Only 41 percent were generally in favour of the 38-year-old, who married into the family at a fairytale Windsor wedding last year.
Conversely, 67 percent of those polled had a positive view of Kate, whose rating was only just short of the Queen’s 73 percent.
Gabriel Milland, a partner with business consultants Public First, who commissioned the survey, said: “This poll is fascinating. It shows that Meghan is really dividing public opinion.”
In a huge show of support, pollsters found 70 percent of Britons would prefer to keep the monarchy than replace it with an elected Head of State.
The Queen helps to retain the monrahcy’s popularity
But views of the key royal players varied drastically with age, with older interviewees tending to favour the Cambridges over the Sussexes.
Just 28 percent of 55-64 year-olds were positive about Meghan, while 42 percent were negative.
By contrast, 66 percent of those aged 18-24 generally favoured her, and only 13 percent had a negative view of her.
In the age group 18-24, a staggering 71 percent of those polled said they were sympathetic with the former star of US TV drama Suits.
The Cambridges are very popular
Conservative voters were also most likely to express a lack of sympathy for her, with 66 percent saying they did not feel sorry for her.
The older generation also think that Harry and Meghan do not represent Britain as well as the Cambridges.
Only 10 percent of over-65s thought the younger couple did a better job at projecting the UK.
Seventy-three percent preferred William and Kate.
Yesterday’s findings come after weeks of controversy surrounding the embattled Sussexes and the 59-year-old Duke of York.
Harry and Megan sparked rumours of a rift with Prince William when they gave a lengthy interview during their recent African tour, for an ITV documentary team.
Despite professing brotherly love for William, 37, Harry, 35, said they were “on different paths at the moment”.
The younger Prince also told of his mental health struggles and described how press scrutiny evoked memories of his mother Diana’s torment.
Meghan, meanwhile, told ITV interviewer Tom Bradby, how her friends had advised her not to marry Harry because “the British tabloids will destroy your life”.
Last week, 72 female MPs from across the political spectrum wrote an open letter of support for the mother of five-month-old Archie.
Meghan Markle is not very popular with the public
The group, led by Labour’s Holly Lynch, attacked commentators for criticising her, using “outdated, colonial undertones”.
Meghan later telephoned Miss Lynch to thank her.
US President Donald Trump, however, accused her of taking media coverage “very personally”, adding: “You have to be a little bit different than that.”
Public First found that in contrast to the 41 percent who had a generally positive view of Meghan, 29 percent had a negative one.
Mr Milland added: “Older people prefer William and Kate to Harry and Meghan, but there’s a lot of support for the Sussexes among younger people. The Royal Family has always reinvented itself to stay relevant – and Meghan has real appeal among groups that will make up the majority of the population in the decades to come.”
The survey also showed that Britons want the Royals to focus on work in this country, rather than overseas.
Asked what they should spend their time doing, 53 percent said they should be “promoting charities in the UK”.
Forty four percent said the royals should be “recognising the efforts of local people who have gone above and beyond to help others”.
Only nine percent chose the option “campaigning on issues like gender equality”.