- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2002

LONDON The public would be happy for Prince Charles to marry Camilla Parker Bowles, but an overwhelming majority believes that she should not become queen, an opinion poll published in the Daily Telegraph says today.
The wide-ranging survey of all aspects of the monarchy to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession this week shows an enormous well of respect for the queen.
She is seen as having a strong sense of duty and of doing a good job representing Britain abroad. However, many people feel that she is out of tune with the times and no longer in touch with ordinary people's concerns.
While very few of those questioned thought the monarchy should be abolished, more than half believed that it must change. Most felt that the royal family should become more approachable and democratic, rather like the Dutch royal family.
The results show that Prince Charles's continuing campaign for greater public acceptance of his mistress as a wife appears to have been at least partly successful.
But if his objective is to win the nation over to the idea of her as queen, he is likely to be disappointed. Only 16 percent of more than 3,000 people canvassed in the YouGov poll thought she should eventually become queen.
One in three thought she could have some other title; almost half believed that as the Prince of Wales's wife she should have no title at all. The prince has managed to turn around his image since the disastrous days after the death of Princess Diana.
More than half believe him to be doing a good job as heir to the throne and are confident that he will continue to do so as king. Only one in four thinks that the succession should skip a generation, with Prince William becoming king instead of his father.
While the queen emerges well, Prince Philip earns less admiration. Only 28 percent believed he had done an "excellent" or "good" job; 70 percent thought his performance "fair" or "poor."
The royal family as a whole attracts considerable criticism. An overwhelming 75 percent believe it is too large and receives too much money.
This is despite the fact that the queen has made considerable economies and now pays tax, and that only three members of the family the queen, Prince Philip and Queen Mother Elizabeth still receive money from the Civil List. The queen pays for the others.
Eight out of 10 persons claimed to have little or no interest in reading about the family and seven out of 10 said they had little or no interest in the Golden Jubilee.
The results of the poll, which was conducted last week, will disappoint those promoting the jubilee, including Tessa Jowell, Britain's culture secretary, who wants republicans to join in.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph today, she says she hopes that republicans will not use the anniversary to stir up feelings against the monarchy.
"The fact is that it does not matter what your beliefs are, whether you are a passionate monarchist, a passionate republican or indifferent: There will be something in this that people will be able to enjoy."
The government will do everything it can to encourage councils not to be "unnecessarily bureaucratic or unhelpful," Miss Jowell says.
Ministers had learned from the millennium celebrations when it had been "too prescriptive" about how people should mark the occasion.
"There is absolutely no central prescription that people must go forth and have a wonderful time," she said. "They should find their own way of celebrating."


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