The Most Loved and Hated Royal Members
It’s easy to picture each member of the Royal House of Windsor as being the master of their own fate; after all, they are royalty in their own kingdom. In reality, however, their reputations — and quality of life — are at the mercy of public opinion. Some royals are sensible and keep their public persona completely proper and kind, while others are downright bizarre, getting into controversy after controversy whether they’ve done something or not.
Despite what some might say, the monarchy is not quite dead. People around the world are genuinely invested in this family and will devour any scandals that seep through the cracks of Buckingham Palace. There’s an entire Netflix series on the family, for goodness sake!
Speaking of, Prince Harry and his Hollywood wife, Meghan Markle, were once some of the most beloved members of the royal family despite what the tabloids said. But after severing ties with the crown and selling out in tell-all interviews, the couple’s public reputation has taken a turn for the worse. Prince William and Kate Middleton don’t suffer the same scrutiny despite making similar strides to modernize the family. Only time will tell how far they go and if they’ll remain as beloved as they already are. There’s always room for them to stumble, especially when social media is involved.
Here, we’ve taken a look at the most popular members of the royal family and ranked them by likeability, according to YouGov’s most recent poll. The amount of hatred that some of these people have amassed is shocking, no matter how deserved it may be... With that being said, let’s take a look at the most loved (and hated) members of the British Royal Family.
Diana Spencer, Former Princess of Wales
To summarize the love that the public holds for the late Diana Spencer is nearly an impossible task. Even in full-length biographies, the former Princess of Wales is difficult to capture and even more difficult to describe the impact that she left on the world. To say she is most likely the most loved member of the royal family in modern history (next to Queen Elizabeth II herself) isn't a stretch.
If you don't know, Princess Diana was the first wife of King Charles II and mothered their two sons, Princes William and Harry. After a tumultuous marriage (and divorce) with Charles, she was killed in a shocking car accident in a Paris tunnel, which triggered weeks-long mourning across the globe. From her grace and generosity to her beauty and resilience, Diana Spencer deserves all of the loving remembrances that the world has to offer.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II — who recently passed away as of September 8, 2022 — is one of the most well-known people on the planet. Born in 1926, Elizabeth was and continues to be a cultural icon for Britain even after her death. She ascended to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II after the passing of her father, King George VI, when she was just 25 years old.
Becoming Queen at such a young age was largely unprecedented in this age, which is why she was able to reign for seven decades. With that, she was also one of the most beloved members of the royal family. Reigning for 70 years hopefully earns a bit of love and respect in the eyes of the people. Not only was she fair and proper, but she remained largely neutral on politics for the entirety of her reign, which garnered both light criticism and many regards for her leadership.
Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales
Kate Middleton, AKA Catherine, Princess of Wales (formerly the Duchess of Cambridge), is the most loved British Princess next to Diana herself. Nearly 14 after Diana's tragic death in 1997, Kate married Diana's son Prince William in a gorgeous ceremony at Westminster Abbey. She's done well in filling Diana's shoes as the "People's Princess," but nobody will ever be able to completely overshadow Diana's memory.
Although Diana will most likely remain the most loved member of the royal family for years to come, Kate embodies most of her best qualities, including kindness, generosity, and grace. Kate has also followed in Diana's footsteps in becoming a mother to her and William's three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. However, she hasn't completely avoided controversy. When Meghan Markle joined the family, British tabloids constantly compared the two, and neither escaped unscathed.
Prince William of Wales
William, Prince of Wales, is the current heir to the British throne as the oldest son of King Charles III and his late wife Diana Spencer, the former queen apparent and Princess of Wales. Now, William and his wife take up the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales direct in his parent's footsteps. As for William's popularity among the public, he is fairly unproblematic and well-liked, even during numerous scandals involving his brother Harry and sister-in-law Meghan Markle.
Let's just put it this way: the majority of the British public (including thousands of foreign observers) prefer William to be King over his father, Charles. If given the option, most of us would have skipped over Charles and Camilla entirely to get straight to William and Kate's reign. Not only is he a pleasant figurehead for the monarchy, but he collaborates with the aforementioned beloved "Princess of the People: Part II" Kate Middleton on various charity projects that address important issues such as conservation, mental health, and homelessness.
Anne, Princess Royal
Anne, the current Princess Royal as of 1987, is the second child and only daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the former Duke of Edinburgh. That being said, she's the only sister of King Charles III and her two younger brothers. As 16th in line for the throne, it's safe to say there's a slim chance of Anne ever securing the title of Queen, though it doesn't seem to be something she's particularly concerned with.
As the first member of the Royal Family to compete in the Olympic Games as well as to become part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Princess Anne is well-liked among the British population, though she doesn't take up much of the spotlight. Except for when she divorced Captain Mark Phillips — the father of her two children, Zara and Peter Phillips — and married Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Anne avoids scrutiny as much as she can.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is the third son and youngest child of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Most popularly known for being the late Queen's "favorite" child according to royal insiders, Edward doesn't stand out much or make trouble in the community, for the most part. In fact, he is usually overlooked despite being well-liked. We suppose that goes to show a little bad publicity can go a long way!
Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, making her the Countess to his Earl. The couple shares two children, including one daughter Lady Loise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. As recent as 2019, Edward was awarded the extra royal title Earl of Forfar from his mother. Edward is a performer to his core as he once worked as a theatre production assistant at Really Useful Theatre Company and later formed his own company called Arden Productions. Currently, he focuses on full-time royal engagements, mainly including charity work such as the National Youth Theatre.
Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne
Zara Phillips, the first and only daughter of Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips, followed in her mother's footsteps as a celebrated equestrian. In fact, she couldn't care less if she never sees the British throne to herself (which is likely as 20th in the line of succession) because she is an Olympic silver medalist from the 2012 Summer Olympics. There's not much more to ask for at this point!
While technically not a princess, Zara is the only daughter of the sitting Princess Royal, so the title feels implied. Besides, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) back in 2007 for her skills and services in equestrianism. And if you think she's not well like, Zara actually was publically voted the 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the year! Later in 2011, she married fellow athlete Mike Tindall, a rugby union player.
Sophie Rhys-Jones, Countess of Wessex
Sophie Rhys-Jones, the Countess of Wessex, is the wife of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. As the wife of the late Queen Elizabeth II's favorite child, it doesn't take much for Sophie to be well-liked herself. Born in Kent, she began her early career in public relations as a secretary. She eventually represented multiple firms across the world before opening her own company in '96.
During this time period, she met the Prince and they were married at St. George's chapel in 1999. The couple share two children James, Viscount Severn, and Lady Louise Windsor, who are fourteenth and fifteenth in line for the throne. As of 2002, Sophie vacated her position as a public relations businesswoman to take up full-time royal duties. She focuses on charities related to disabilities, women's rights, avoidable blindness, and agriculture.
Princess Eugenie of York
Princess Eugenie of York is the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and her mother Sarah, the Duchess of York. As the nice of King Charles III and one of Elizabeth II's many grandchildren, it's easy for Eugenie to be overlooked. However, that doesn't mean she's hated, although the British tabloids do everything they can to paint her and her sister Beatrice in a bad light.
Eugenie studied at Newcastle University and graduated with a bachelor's in English literature and art history before taking a position at an art gallery, Hauser & Wirth. As a Royal, she is also involved in extensive charity work, including Children in Crisis and Anti-Slavery international. In 2018, she married a brand ambassador Jack Brooksbank and welcomed their first child —a son named August — in February 2021.
Princess Beatrice is the older sister of Eugenie and the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York. Ninth in the line of succession to the throne, Beatrice fills her time with charity work and working in the software company Afiniti as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. Now that King Charles III ascended to the throne, Beatrice is now serving as a Counsellor of State, which is reserved for royal family members above 21 and within the first four in the succession line.
The princess married a property developer and Italian noble in 2020, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and later had their first child in 2021, daughter Sienna Elizabeth. There's no denying that Beatrice has been widely mocked by members of the press since her childhood. In fact, she helped promote an anti-bullying book to Vogue in 2017, using her experience of being bullied for her body and fashion choices during her young adult years.
Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, the former Duke of Edinburgh, was well-respected yet difficult to define. Not everyone was very impressed by him, especially concerning his family's past involvement with Nazis. Born in Greece, he was exiled from the country as an infant. He took up his educated in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, but he eventually renounced his other citizenship to marry Elizabeth, who was merely a princess at the time, in 1947. Many people not familiar with British royal history formed their opinion of the late prince from his depiction in Netflix's drama series The Crown.
All of his worst scandals are splashed across the screen and they don't paint him in the best light. Unfortunately, many of these fictionalized depictions are actually rooted in reality. For example, he bristled at the idea that Queen's surname Windsor would be passed down instead of his own, Mountbatten. However, he's no devil. In fact, he was one of Princess Diana's closest companions in the Royal Family and encouraged her royal development. Perhaps he was hated, but he was also well loved.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
Where do we even start with Prince Harry? This spicy Duke of Sussex is no stranger to controversy. He was once the "bad boy" of the royal family, especially after his mother's tumultuous divorce and tragic death in the '90s. This trauma doesn't bode well for the development of a young royal, leading to Harry's teenage years riddled with "acting out" and making headlines in British tabloids. Most recently, Prince Harry has further fallen in the eye of the public as he plots alongside his wife Meghan Markle to slander the monarchy from the outside.
The two very publicly severed their ties from the royal family shortly after their marriage and fled to Hollywood to publish explosive interviews and podcast episodes with the likes of Oprah. This further damaged Harry's relationship with his family, including his brother William, as well as his public reputation. After the death of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, however, he appeared to make amends. He is also the father of two children, Archie and Lilibet, which further softens his public image.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is currently one of the most hated members of the Royal family for a slew of reasons. While she started out as well loved during her engagement and early marriage to Prince Harry, the tabloids quickly devolved to attacking her character — and haven't stopped! Is it deserved? Perhaps some of it isn't, especially the rumors surrounding the racism she's experienced while surrounded by the Royal patriarchy.
However, it's difficult not to take notice of Meghan and Harry's trip straight to the press after abandoning their positions as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to galavant across southern California. Not only did they leave the U.K. — most likely at Meghan's command — but they sat down for widely-televised tell-all interviews that set bombshells straight onto Buckingham Palace. Yes, it's safe to say that this American princess is hated in Britain.
King Charles III
Funnily enough, the new King of England, Charles III, is one of the top 3 most hated royals in the entire family. Sure, The Crown added to the "we hate Charles" hype, but he already set himself up for failure after his disaster of a marriage to Princess Diana, at no fault of her own. Charles led Diana to the brink of madness while he shmoozed Camilla Parker-Bowles throughout the course of their fifteen-year marriage. Just pick one and stick with them, dude!
When Charles and Diana announced their engagement back in the '80s, he publicly told an interviewer that he was in love with Diana, but weirdly added "whatever in love means" at the end of it... What a jerk! Eventually, he got to marry the girl he actually wanted, Camilla, but the world isn't impressed. They should have skipped right over Charles and handed the crown to William!
Camilla Parker-Bowles, Queen Consort
Camilla Parker-Bowles, who unfortunately became Queen Consort after Elizabeth II's death, is the second most hated royal in modern history. We all know the story... She was the infamous "other woman" in King Charles and Princess Diana's marriage. Diana famously told an interviewer that her marriage was rather "crowded" as there were "three people" in the relationship... Big yikes.
And after Diana's tragic death in the '90s, Camilla finally got her shot at the King and the crown, managing to stick it out until Elizabeth's death to become "Queen." We hate to say that the mistress in this situation is more hated than the cheating husband (Charles) because it really is all his fault, but it doesn't help that Diana was so beloved by the kingdom. Next to her memory, Camilla has no room to shine.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is by far the most hated royal of today because of his involvement with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the horrific sex scandals associated with the businessman. According to BBC News, Virginia Giuffre accused Jeffrey Epstein of sex trafficking her to the royal at the homes of "Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell," as well as at "Epstein's homes in Manhattan and Little St James in the US Virgin Islands" back in 2014.
Now that Jeffrey Epstein was tried, charged, and allegedly committed suicide behind bars (though many speculate that he was murdered) and Ghislaine Maxwell has also been sentenced, the whole affair looks terrible for the Prince. Following the public fallout, Andrew resigned from his royal duties, the late Queen shuttered his charities, and all of his honorary military affiliations were redacted. He settled out of court against his victim in February 2022.