King Charles will struggle to unite his kingdom, poll for ITV News reveals

ITV News can reveal Britain is deeply divided over whether they support the new monarch King Charles III as ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand reports

When King Charles III is crowned this week he will struggle to unite his kingdom, according to exclusive polling for ITV News.

The survey of over 2,000 British people reveals that his subjects are deeply divided, both according to the UK nation that they live in and the generation that they belong to.

The data obtained by polling company Savanta found that when and where a person was born significantly influences whether or not they support the monarchy as a whole, as well as their view of its individual members.

By far the starkest divide lies between the generations, with younger people half as likely to support the monarchy as older people.

ITV News compared opinion across three broad age groups: those aged 65+, who either belonged to the Queen's generation or were born during her youth; those aged 35-64, who were raised during King Charles's eventful youth; and 18-34 year-olds, who are far closer in age to Prince William and only remember Charles III and Elizabeth II as elder royals.

Asked whether they support having a monarchy, those who remember a young Queen ascending the throne and aged alongside her are unsurprisingly most supportive - 70% of over 65s want to see the royal family continue.

Meanwhile, among those who remember the dramatic youth of Prince (now King) Charles, support drops dramatically to 53%. Many in this age group will have spent their formative years witnessing the wedding and later the explosive divorce of Charles and Diana.

But King Charles III's greatest challenge lies with the youngest generation. Just 39% of 18-34 year-olds support the monarchy, despite some effort by the King to reach out to the young - for example via the Prince's Trust.

People in Ballater, Scotland, told ITV News of their support for Charles III, calling him a 'wonderful' and 'absolutely amazing man'

Of equal concern for the King, support for the monarchy also varies greatly across the UK.

Not for centuries has a coronation taken place at quite such a moment of jeopardy for the union.

During her reign, the Queen was often considered to be a unifying figure across the UK, save for among the divided communities of Northern Ireland. Even the Scottish National Party (SNP) proposed to keep her as head of state in an independent Scotland.

However, our polling shows Charles III is anything but universally admired throughout his kingdom.

While 54% of people in England support the monarchy, just 37% in Scotland share that view. Support in Wales (56%) and Northern Ireland (47%) is stronger, but in both nations people are highly polarised over the issue.

And this extends to their personal view of Charles III himself.

We asked people whether they thought he would be a good or a poor king.

While in England, 52% thought he would be either 'very' or 'fairly' good, in Scotland the figure was just 39%.

In Caernarfon, Wales, where Charles III had his investiture as the then Prince of Wales, residents gave mixed views on what the King means to them

With his multi-million pound coronation taking place amid a cost of living crisis, there is also a perception that the King is remote from the concerns of his people.

Across all age groups, around half of those we surveyed told us that they do not think Charles III understands 'people like me'. Only around a third of those surveyed believe that he's in touch with their lives.

And again, there was a stark difference between the generations, with older voters far more likely to view the King favourably than the minority of 18-34 year-olds who rate him well.

But while some of the polling might make King Charles nervous, he rates far more favourably than his Queen.

We asked people for their views of his wife, Camilla. While she has undoubtedly managed to improve her public image since the difficult days of the 80s and 90s, only a minority of people felt she would make a 'very good' or 'fairly good' Queen.

Again, both age and nationality matter. Just 34% of our youngest respondents thought she would make a good Queen, compared to 53% of the oldest, while Northern Ireland and Scotland rate her far less favourably than England and Wales.

If there is cause for optimism among the palaces, it is in relation to the next generation of royals.

By far the stand out star of our survey, Prince William is the only royal to be rated well by a majority of people across every age group and nation.

'In the nicest way possible I felt like Camilla was trying to be like Diana a little bit' - Camilla, Queen Consort, split opinion amongst those ITV News spoke to in Walthamstow, London

In England, a whopping 67% think he will one day make a good King. Even 51% of Scots agree.

And among the 18-34s - with whom he is of course closest in age - 53% think he will make a good King, making him the only royal in our survey to receive this generation's approval.

But as he prepares for his far more imminent crowning, Charles III cannot rely on such support.

Unlike his mother, who ascended to the throne young and managed to carry her youthful generation with her throughout her reign, Charles starts out as an aged King.

How will he connect with those to whom he could be a grandfather, even great-grandfather? And how can he unite a kingdom which his own persona appears to divide?

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