The British Monarchy has enjoyed a very high percentage of support for many decades now almost without interruption, with the latest polls putting support for the Monarchy between 70% and 80% and republicanism never rising above 20%, the British Monarchy is one of the most popular in Europe and indeed the world.
In this post, we’ll analyse if the other European monarchies enjoy the same levels of support as the British Monarchy and just how things are for the royals on the continent.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark – the world’s only other Queen Regnant other than Queen Elizabeth – has reigned for 42 years and celebrated her Ruby Jubilee in Denmark in 2012, at the same time as our Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. Despite the Queen being known for keeping to the ‘old ways’ and also being castigated by some for being a chain-smoker, the Danish Monarchy is immensely popular. Denmark, regarded as one of the freest and most prosperous countries in the world, has a long-held admiration for their Queen who has seldom (if at all) courted controversy.
Polls show a similar level of support in Denmark for the Monarchy at around 77% in favour of it. Many also regard Queen Margrethe as very down-to-earth in her approach to public life. She gives off-the-cuff speeches and interviews and while steering well clear of politics is not averse to speaking out on topical issues.
Queen Margrethe’s health has been a cause of concern to some in recent months as Her Majesty suffers a quite limiting back problem which caused her to cancel engagements. The heir to the Danish throne, Crown Prince Frederik, and his Australian-born wife Princess Mary are also very popular in Denmark (on a par with the popularity enjoyed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the UK) which makes the Danish Monarchy even more secure in the future.
For some time, Spain’s monarchy has looked in serious peril due to scandal endured by the now abdicated King Juan Carlos and his daughter being embroiled in a scandal over public funds. Due to his ailing health and a desire to hand the Crown over to a new generation, Juan Carlos abdicated in favour of his son, now King Felipe VI – Europe’s youngest Monarch. At the time of the abdication, 50% of Spaniards supported the Monarchy, with serious calls from republicans for its abolition.
Despite these calls, the Spanish Monarchy has already seen a small, yet significant increase in popularity since the abdication. New polls from the beginning of the month have shown around 55% of Spaniards support retaining the Monarchy. Spain is also going through some political issues in recent times which has left many political and constitutional institutions in the firing line among Spaniards.
A poll has also shown that Spaniards are interested in seeing their new king play a part on the political scene to try and resolve some of Spain’s problems with 75% saying they’d want to see King Felipe pushing for pacts among politicians in order to try and solve Spain’s problems.
Whilst calls for a referendum among the Spanish people are still strong, support for the Monarchy is slowly picking up pace again according to the polls, though if things are set to improve it won’t be for some time yet as the King’s sister Infanta Cristina is on corruption charges. Spain has a generally positive relationship with their Monarchy and a history of it contributing to national life, especially with the restoration of democracy to Spain at the hands of King Juan Carlos over 40 years ago. Support may dwindle for now, though in the long term once Felipe and his new Queen Letizia have had a chance to establish a more powerful impression among Spaniards and to reintroduce public trust in the Monarchy (including by distancing itself from previous events, as the abdication will contribute towards) the Spanish Monarchy will endure.
For quite a while, Sweden’s King, Carl XVI Gustaf, went through a phase of relative unpopularity – or at least ambivalence – with may Swedes after newspapers made allegations about his private life, resulting in a poll showing that many believed he should abdicate in favour of his daughter Crown Princess Victoria. Since then, the Swedish monarchy’s popularity has recovered at a relatively quick pace with now just under 70% of Swedes supporting the Monarchy as an institution (though some still believe the King should abdicate).
Nonetheless, the Swedish Monarchy is one of the ones to watch. Whilst Crown Princess Victoria (set to become Sweden’s first Queen regnant since 1720) enjoys far reaching popularity in Sweden, as one commentator put it, her personal popularity outweighs public support for the institution of Monarchy itself – indeed, her consort Prince Daniel is also a popular figure among Swedes.
That’s not to say, however, that the Swedish monarchy is failing, though calls for the King to abdicate are often dismissed by His Majesty – leading to a mixed response from the public, many of whom feel he should retire after 40 years on the throne.
Strong personal popularity for King Harald, positive attitude towards the institution of Monarchy and a majority opposed to the present King’s abdication – Norway is another successful example of a popular Monarchy in Europe. Harald, seen by many as an incredibly personable and warm Monarch.
In a poll on whether Norwegians thought King Harald had done a good job a staggering 93% said yes with only 1% saying they thought he’d done a bad job – with similar poll results for his consort (Queen Sonja) and heir Crown Prince Haakon.
Norway’s looks like it could well be the most secure in Europe, despite the wife of the heir – Crown Princess Mette-Marit – being ridiculed and treated with suspicion by some over her past (when she married Prince Haakon, she was a single mother and seen by many as ‘rebellious’).
Latest polls from Norwegian news outlets earlier this year have shown that apparently 82% of Norwegians are in favour of retaining the Monarchy, with support for the Monarchy having shot up and stayed high in recent years.