Despite Prince Harry’s Good Deeds, Monarchy’s Popularity Still Slipping in Britain

Prince Harry’s much publicized charity work has boosted the monarchy’s popularity worldwide, but at home, the fickle public is feeling less than entranced with the royals again

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Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters

Britain's Prince Harry poses with London Marathon winners Mary Keitany and Wilson Kipsang, both of Kenya, outside Buckingham Palace in London

The “playboy prince” may be shedding his model-dating, hard-partying reputation. These days, Prince Harry is more of a charity champion: in addition to his recent do-gooding in the Caribbean, next month he’ll receive a prestigious humanitarian award in Washington in recognition of his work supporting British service members. Prince Harry will accept the Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership award on May 7 from the Atlantic Council, using it to pay tribute to the work of British and American war veterans’ charities. (He’ll also accept the award on behalf of his brother, Prince William, with whom he jointly worked on the cause.)

(MORE: From Royal Weddings to Royal Funerals: Britain and Its Monarchy Over the Years)

Harry’s charitable acts can only help the British monarchy’s reputation worldwide, already bolstered by the global spectacle of his brother’s wedding to Kate Middleton last year. (Although the royal image did take a hit following Pippa Middleton’s recent gun-slinging antics in Paris.)

Surely this is something the Brits, who are gripping commemorative mugs of tea in anticipation of the Queen’s upcoming Diamond Jubilee, can feel proud of too?

It seems not. While the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry is being showered with awards and praise in the U.S., confidence in the royals at home is waning.

Republic, the antimonarchy British pressure group, has found in recent polls that Britons are more disillusioned with their ruling family than previously thought, with only 14% of the public claiming to be “very interested” in the jubilee. The number of people believing the country would be worse off without the royals also fell from 63% last year to 51%. The polls also reveal that the number of people replying “don’t know” to the question of whether the country would be better or worse off without the monarchy has shot up from 11% to 28% this year.

MORE: Prince Harry Gets His Own Bachelor Pad — Next Door to Will and Kate

In a new book from TIME, The Royal Family: The House of Windsor, Past, Present and Future, Europe editor Catherine Mayer and colleagues look at Britain’s resilient monarchy celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign. Now available in bookstores everywhere, or go to www.time.com/royalsbook to preorder your copy today.

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