As the world prepares for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the hypothetical scenario of a same-sex royal wedding comes to people’s minds. How would the British people react if the royals were celebrating a same-sex wedding instead of a heterosexual one?
A new Ipsos poll for King’s College London surveyed 1,681 people and their reactions to potential scenarios that could affect the royals. One of the biggest takeaways of the survey was that three-quarters of those surveyed said they would support a same-sex royal wedding.
“The findings of this poll show what a complete change there has been in British public attitudes during the reign of the current Queen,” said Professor Roger Mortimore, author of the study and advisor of the Polling Club at King’s College London. “Even allowing for the fact that our poll did not include those aged over 75, who we would expect to have the most conservative attitudes, the number who said they were concerned about these issues was very low. In the 1970s only one person in six thought same-sex marriage should be legal, and as late as the 1990s half the public believed that homosexual sex was always wrong. Many think that in the 1950s Princess Margaret was prevented from marrying a man who had previously been divorced because the public would have disapproved. Now most people have no objection at all, even to a member of the Royal Family marrying somebody of the same sex.”
“Nevertheless, the public holds the Royal Family to stricter standards than they hold themselves. Although the majority have no objections, a significantly bigger minority would be concerned by a Royal same-sex marriage or a Royal child born outside marriage than if it were their own family or friends involved.”
While the survey results shed a positive light that LGBTQ+ acceptance in Britain is heading in the right direction, the point of view from the LGBTQ+ community does not align. In the 2017 “LGBT in Britain Hate Crime and Discrimination” study, roughly a third of LGBTQ+ people do not feel comfortable walking down the street holding their partner’s hand.
The wedding of Prince Harry and Markle does come with hope for the future of the LGBTQ+ community. The couple spoke to fans on April 18 at the Commonwealth Youth Forum which aims to promote cross-cultural connections and obtain consensus among leaders regarding the policies required to address the challenges facing the world’s youth. Prince Harry was named as the new Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
“Miss Markle said, and these were her exact words, ‘This is a basic human rights issue, not one about sexuality,’ ” Australian Jacob Thomas, who won a Queen’s Young Leaders award for helping to reduce the suicide rate within the LBGTQ community in Australia, told reporters. “Prince Harry said that what was so amazing was that 10 or so years ago, we wouldn’t have been having this conversation and how incredible it was that we now were.”
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This article came at a perfect time since the British royal family had their first gay wedding in 2018 with the Queen’s third cousin Lord Mountbatten married James Coyle.