Press release

British Social Attitudes: Support for monarchy falls to new low

Data published today from the latest British Social Attitudes survey shows support for the monarchy has been in decline over the last decade or so.
  • Publishing date:
    29 April 2024

Data published today from the latest British Social Attitudes survey, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) in Autumn 2023, shows that just over half (54%) of people in Britain now believe that it is ‘very’ or ‘quite important’ for Britain to have a monarchy. This is the lowest proportion to be recorded by the survey since it first asked the question in 1983. Back then, as many as 86% said that it was important for Britain to have a monarchy.

Support for the monarchy has been in decline over the last decade or so. As recently as 2012, around three-quarters (76%) still said having the monarchy was ‘very’ or ‘quite important’.

There was a temporary reversal of this decline after the death of HM The Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, shortly after which 62% felt that having a monarchy was important. However, it appears that the trend in attitudes has reverted to the longer-term decline since the accession to the throne of HM The King Charles III. As many as a quarter (25%) now say either that ‘the monarchy should be abolished’ or that it is ‘not at all important’, matching a figure first recorded in 2021.

Younger people have always been less likely than older people to believe that it is ‘very important’ for Britain to have a monarchy, though each successive generation has seemingly come to support the monarchy more as it has got older, and the gap in support between younger and older people has remained fairly stable.

However, since 2021, prior to the late Queen’s death, the proportion of those aged 55 and over who say it is ‘very important’ to have a monarchy has fallen below two in five (from 44% to 37%). In contrast, the equivalent figure is little changed from that recorded in 2021 among both those aged less than 35 (13% vs. 14% in 2021) and those aged 35 to 54 (28% vs. 27%).

Gillian Prior, Deputy Chief Executive at the National Centre for Social Research, adds: “NatCen has been collecting data on the public’s attitudes towards the monarchy for over 40 years, and it is clear we are observing a downward trend in support for the monarchy. Although the majority of the public still supports the monarchy, our latest British Social Attitudes survey shows the highest percentage yet, with 16% saying the monarchy should be abolished. 

Support for the monarchy continues to be higher among older people than younger, although the gap has narrowed. There is a continuing challenge for the monarchy to maintain favourability with the British public of all ages."

Notes to editors:

  • NatCen’s British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey has been conducted annually since 1983. Each year the survey asks people what it's like to live in Britain and what they think about how Britain is run. Since 1983 more than 115,000 people have taken part in the survey.
  • The 2023 BSA survey consisted of 5,578 interviews with a representative, random sample of adults in Britain and was conducted between 12 September and 31 October 2023.
  • The full wording for the question asked about the monarchy on the BSA survey is, “How important or unimportant do you think it is for Britain to continue to have a monarchy...very important, quite important, not very important, not at all important, or do you think the monarchy should be abolished?”