Sussex diehards are squaring up against staunch monarchists following the controversial Oprah Winfrey interview, but what do the changing sentiments towards the royals look like?
New data has indicated the interview, which was supposed to be an image correction for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has had unexpected results.
Semrush, a global online visibility online management tool, analysed nearly 50,000 tweets and revealed the real loser was actually Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Positive sentiment on social media towards Middleton nosedived from 41 per cent, to just 19 per cent following the interview.
Negative sentiment directed towards the 39-year-old also increased by 19 per cent, but the sentiment towards her husband, Prince William, remained much the same.
This is likely due to Markle’s claims that Middleton made her cry.
“Did you make Kate cry?” – Oprah
— Chicks in the Office (@ChicksInTheOff) March 8, 2021
Comparatively, positive sentiment towards the Duke and Duchess of Sussex only dropped from 37 per cent to 34 per cent.
Following the explosive interview, monarchists are hitting out against Prince Harry and Markle for their perceived power-grab, while others are suggesting it’s time to bin the monarchy altogether and demand a republic.
As the two sides battle it out online, where exactly do you sit?
Luke Mansillo, political behaviour and public opinion expert, and PhD candidate in the department of government and international relations, University of Sydney, said while the scandal seems to be the talk of the town, it’s unlikely it will lead to any large-scale reforms within the monarchy, or the countries it presides over.
“I don’t think it’s going to have terribly much impact, because it doesn’t have long-term staying power,” Mr Mansillo told The New Daily.
“This is not at all like the scandals of the 1990s, where you had foot fetishes put on the front pages of newspapers across the world.
“A lot of people like the current state of affairs because it is self-legitimising, it is what people have grown up with, so they haven’t had any reason to question it. There isn’t a [Gough] Whitlam scandal in the memory of a large proportion of Australians.”
One of the most incendiary claims from the Sussexes’ tell-all interview with Winfrey illustrates a palace so archaic and conservative that there were debates over the skin colour of their baby.
The monarchy’s colonial and racist history, and its allowance of racist tabloid coverage of Markle seems to be the backbone of pro-Sussex sentiment.
Meghan Markle breathes
— peter ☁️ (@PeterSnelling) March 8, 2021
Historian and social commentator, Dr Benjamin T Jones, said those backing the monarchy were more likely to fall in older age brackets.
“Certainly the over-65 age bracket tends to be the strongest supporters of the monarchy and this is partly tied to the long reign of the Queen and sense of stability she brings,” Dr Jones told The New Daily.
“Historically, Australians have mentally separated the institution of monarchy from the personality and behaviour of individual monarchs.
“Right back to the 19th century there have been popular and unpopular monarchs but this has not tended to influence views towards the monarchy as an institution.”
Despite the royal uproar the recent interview has brought, it seems the only damaging divide we will be seeing in our immediate future is the one between the Sussexes and the rest of the royals.
“Harry and Meghan are celebrities so naturally attract media interest, however, opinion polls indicate that young Australians’ views on monarchy and republicanism have not been significantly impacted by the couple,” Dr Jones said.
“It certainly is a conversation starter and it has busted the perception that modern princes and princesses lead fairy tale lives.
“I hope it leads to some national self-reflection on whether we want to fully democratise and have our own head of state or continue to rely on hereditary birthright and a European monarch.”