A majority of Canadians believe Meghan Markle has been treated unfairly by the royal family because of her race, and a larger majority would prefer the monarchy to stop playing a formal role in Canada, according to a new poll from Ipsos.
Ipsos conducted the survey exclusively for News Gob after Oprah Winfrey conducted an explosive interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle earlier this month.
The couple spoke of their struggles with the “constant barrage” of the “toxic” British media, the racism Markle has been exposed to and the lack of support they had received from the royal family. Markle also accused the royal family of refusing to provide spiritual help when they had suicidal thoughts, alleging that someone in the family raised questions about the skin color of their then-unborn child.
Harry later told Winfrey that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were not part of these skin color conversations.
Fifty-eight percent of Canadians agreed that the royal family had treated Markle unfairly because of their race, according to the survey. Women and people between the ages of 18 and 34 were more in agreement, but the majority of respondents supported this idea across all population groups. Black respondents were most likely to endorse the idea with 98 percent.
Eight out of ten people said Harry and Markle made the right decision to leave the royal family last year, according to the survey.
Ipsos also saw a surge in support for ending the formal role of the royal family in Canada, and continued the trend of increasing support for the term since 2016.
Two in three Canadians, or 66 percent of those polled, said the Queen and Royals shouldn’t play a formal role in Canadian society because they are “just celebrities and nothing more”. That’s two percent more than last year and six percent more than 2016, says Ipsos.
About six in ten people said that if the queen dies, the relationship between Canada and the monarchy should end, although only about half of Canadians (53 percent) were in favor of the idea of a referendum on the monarchy, according to the survey. Almost eight in ten Canadians thought the Queen did a good job in her role.
The Queen is represented by the Governor General at the federal level and by the Vice-Governors at the provincial level. The role of governor general is currently vacant following the departure of Julie Payette, who resigned last month for workplace bullying.
The Canadian poll results differ significantly from those in the UK following the Winfrey interview, which sparked a firestorm of anger among British experts at the time.
A YouGov poll found that 48 percent of 1,664 respondents in the UK rated Harry negatively, while only three in ten rated Markle positively. It was the first time Harry’s popularity fell below 50 percent.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the UK in early 2020 and ended up in British Columbia before securing a more permanent home in California.
The couple’s interview with Winfrey was the first in-depth public conversation since moving, and their allegations sparked a rare family reaction.
The royals said they were “sad” about the couple’s allegations and found the allegations of racism “worrying” but also indicated a difference in “memory”.
“The issues raised, especially those of race, are concerned,” reads the statement issued on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. “While some memories can vary, they are taken very seriously and addressed privately by the family.”
Harry and Markle are expecting a second child in the coming months.
Exclusive News Gob Ipsos surveys are copyrighted. The information and / or data may only be re-sent or published with full and proper credit and assignment to “News Gob Ipsos”. This survey was conducted between March 11th and 12th, 2021, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and over being interviewed online. The accuracy of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 out of 20 if all Canadians 18 and over were interviewed.