Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are more disliked in America than Prince Andrew in the aftermath of the duke’s book Spare.
Harry’s popularity in the U.S. has sunk 48 points since December and Meghan’s 40 points giving them net approval ratings of -10 for the duke and -17 for the duchess, according to polling by Redfield & Wilton for Newsweek.
Prince Andrew was also viewed negatively but by a slimmer margin, with a net approval rating of -2, with 26 percent saying they liked him and 28 percent saying they disliked him.
The difference is striking, not least because Harry and Meghan’s supporters frequently compare their treatment by the palace and British media to Prince Andrew’s as evidence of unfairness.
Virginia Giuffre accused the Duke of York of sexually assaulting her when she was a 17-year-old Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking victim. Andrew denies the allegations but settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Harry made the point himself in his book Spare as he discussed the decision to remove his police security: “[Andrew] was embroiled in a shameful scandal, accused of the sexual assault of a young woman, and no one had so much as suggested that he lose his security. Whatever grievances people had against us, sex crimes weren’t on the list.”
The polling figures also come in marked contrast to Britain’s view of Andrew, where a January YouGov survey showed 86 percent felt negatively towards him compared to just 7 percent who felt positively.
While remarkable, there is a possible explanation in the detail of Andrew’s U.S. polling numbers, which show a key difference to Harry and Meghan’s.
The strongest view of Andrew among Americans was in fact “neither favorable nor unfavorable,” with 32 percent giving this answer, while a further 13 percent answered “don’t know.” That adds up to a total of 45 percent of respondents who did not muster a strong opinion either way.
Despite the gravity of the allegations, Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite son appears to inspire apathy more than any other emotion among Americans.
By contrast, 18 percent felt neither favorably nor unfavorably about Prince Harry, and 7 percent replied “don’t know,” while 20 percent were on the fence about Meghan and 8 percent did not have an opinion.
That means 25 percent expressed no strong feelings either way about the duke and 28 percent about the duchess.
The results appear to indicate that popularity is a product not only of the facts of a person’s life, but also their level of exposure, and that greater fame can bring with it greater hostility.
Major media interventions, such as Spare and their Netflix documentary, made Harry and Meghan a national talking point, and will no doubt have proved lucrative.
However, in contrast to Harry’s claims about the power of the British media to lie about him, it would appear that direct and prolific exposure to a public figure can perhaps produce stronger emotions than factual content in news stories.
Andrew’s own car crash interview was with the BBC, and broadcast as long ago as November 2019.
Americans feel marginally more positive about Harry and Meghan than Andrew, though the margins are slim.