The Royal Family. With a reign of over 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II has been the monarch that every Gen Zer (and their parents!) grew up with – she was, quite simply, a part of Britain. And whilst questions about the Royal Family, both as an institution and its individual members, have been circulating amongst younger generations for a while, it was the death of the Queen in September 2022 that really brought some issues to light.
Voxburner recently carried out a survey to assess how Gen Z are feeling about the Royal Family following the death of the Queen and the coronation of King Charles, and the results are somewhat surprising. Overall, 39% of 16-24s were saddened by the death of the Queen, 32% ‘sort of’ were and a significant 29% weren’t at all. Interestingly, 58% of those who plan to vote Conservative in the next election felt sad, compared to 33% of those who plan to vote Labour/Liberal Democrat/Green. Thousands of people across the country sat down to watch the funeral and 63% of Gen Z joined them – this was a significant moment in history which many young people wanted to witness (even if it was to just say they’d witnessed it!). 37% didn’t watch the funeral.
And how will UK Gen Zers vote in the next general election?
Social media, pop culture and celebrity status
Are Gen Z interested in the lives of the Royals?
- Yes – 16%
- Some of them – 42%
- No – 42%
Thanks to social media, modern journalism and television, the lives of the Royals are no longer private. Ex-Royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s tell-all chat show, are releasing memoirs and hosting podcasts, the Princess of Wales is a regular Tatler feature thanks to her style and Netflix’s The Crown has won a number of Emmys and Golden Globe awards; all of this means that Gen Z have grown up with the Royals being a part of their everyday lives, whether they want it or not. Perhaps most significantly, Princess Diana is considered an iconic figure to 16-24s, with her renowned love story and avant-garde fashion choices inspiring and influencing thousands, many of whom take their looks and ideas to TikTok.
Who are the young royalists?
Our survey revealed that 15% of young people are very in favour of the Royal Family as an institution and 43% are somewhat interested. Interestingly, males are generally more in favour than females.
But what is it that these young royalists like about the royal family?
- Tradition (70%)
- A sense of stability (46%)
- They bring in money via tourism (50%)
- They officially recognise excellent and success (27%)
- They’re inspiring (23%)
These all appear to be big picture reasons, ranging from economic influence to values and culture. Other reason included: “They are very well brought up and seem to have kept their traditions going for decades”, “Certain members inspire me and contribute to my country” and “While the monarchy has no inherent values, the Monarch’s position as patron of many charities and their role as the Head of the Commonwealth is important”.
Stability and tradition seem to be big factors for this 58%, and this isn’t exactly surprising – young people are growing up in a world where the future of our planet, politics and economy are uncertain, so it makes sense for them to rely on an institution that has remained practically the same for hundreds of years.
The young anti-royalists
However, not all young people agree, with 42% being firmly against the Royal Family. Reasons cited for this include:
- They’re a symbol of privilege and inequality (71%)
- They’re unrelatable (56%)
- They cost the taxpayers money (55%)
- Disagree with their principles (44%)
- Can’t guarantee the Head of State’s competence (25%)
Again, these are all logical reasons, particularly given the rising cost of living, the cost of state funerals and coronations and reliance on succession as a way of appointing a new monarch. Other reasons for disagreeing with the institution included: “They protect predators”, “They are billionaires who directly participate into a system which takes advantage of working classes and the impact of their colonial pasts still remain to this day”, “They refuse to return valuable treasures that were stolen from third world countries that are in need” and “They have the power to make real change yet fall back and help the Conservatives favour the rich over the poor”.
Of course, these reasons relate to allegations against Prince Andrew and other historic members of the Family, the Royals’ questionable history and Gen Z’s determination to do good in the world and support those who are most in need.
Politics, power and the economy
So what can these insights tell us? Well, Gen Z have a mixed approach to the Royal Family, with no opinion taking the majority vote. This isn’t surprising – we know that the younger demographic of Gen Z are more likely to be influenced by their parents, whilst personal experiences and backgrounds will also contribute significantly towards their views of the monarchy. However, their concerns around the economy and politics unite 16-24s – almost all of them are worried about the rising cost of living (with some thinking the Royal Family can help this whilst others think they contribute towards this) and the wellbeing of others (with the monarch’s involvement in charitable causes being a positive for some versus the Royal Family’s alleged outlook to working classes and non-Conservatives being a concern for others).
Whilst these stats haven’t exactly shed light on whether young people want to see the monarchy abolished in the future, they have enforced the point that this generation is caring, compassionate and well-informed… they’re just interpreting and reasoning in different ways.
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Cover image 📸: @theroyalfamily on Instagram