Over half of Britons will watch royal wedding: poll

LONDON Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:56am EDT

A sign stands outside a pub promoting Royal Wedding events, in central London April 4, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A sign stands outside a pub promoting Royal Wedding events, in central London April 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - More than half of all Britons will watch Prince William marry long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton on April 29th, a poll conducted for Reuters showed.

The royal wedding is expected to be one of the year's most watched events globally, with some estimating viewership as high as two billion people.

Around 56 percent of the British public will watch the second in line to the British throne marry his university sweetheart, according to a survey by Ipsos MORI. Just under a quarter said they would definitely not watch.

Slightly more people are likely to watch than say they are interested in the wedding. Some 53 percent professed interest in the royal couple's big day compared to 47 percent who had little or no interest in it.

Britons have been given a public holiday for the occasion and thousands are expected to line the route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey or watch from giant screens in pubs and parks. Street parties will be held across the country.

Those most interested include women (65 percent), people aged 65 and over (65 percent), Conservative voters (64 percent), and people on lower incomes (59 percent).

Many more are supportive of the monarchy. Three-quarters of Britons favor royal rule compared to just 18 percent who would like to see Britain become a republic. That figure has moved little since Ipsos MORI started asking the question in 1993.

Those most likely to favor Britain becoming a republic include those in London and Labor voters (26 and 27 percent respectively).

However, people are less certain about whether Britain will still have kings and queens as rulers in 100 year's time. While 84 percent see Britain remaining a monarchy for the next decade, only 37 percent expect it to survive for another century.

Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne nearly 60 years ago and is Britain's third longest-reigning monarch.

The public is split on whether Prince Charles, heir to the throne, should surrender his claim in favor of his son William. They are also divided over whether the royal family and the queen are out of touch with ordinary people, the survey showed.

Technical details:

- Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain.

- Interviews were conducted by telephone 15-17th April 2011.

- Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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