Britons want William, not Charles as next king: poll

Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton (L) pose for a photograph in St. James's Palace, central London November 16, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - Prince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton should be Britain’s next king and queen, not the heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, two polls showed on Saturday.

An ICM poll, published in Britain’s News of the World newspaper, showed that 64 percent of people wanted William and his future bride as next in line to the throne, while a YouGov poll in the Sunday Times found the majority of Britons thought William would make a better king than his father Charles.

Charles, 62, is currently next in line to the throne, now occupied by his mother Queen Elizabeth, 84. The British public has no say in who should be their next king or queen, a largely symbolic role in a country run as a parliamentary democracy.

The ICM survey also found that fewer than one in five people wanted the crown to pass to Charles and Camilla. The YouGov poll showed that 44 percent of people thought Charles should make way for his son to become the next king, against 37 percent who thought he should not.

William and Middleton, both aged 28, announced their engagement this week, the photogenic couple drawing extensive media coverage.

Charles is seen by some as too old to inject vitality in the monarchy should he eventually succeed his mother. Charles’s wife Camilla is nowhere near as popular as his first wife, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in 1997 after they had divorced.

The surveys come a day after Charles, in a television interview, said Camilla could be queen if he is crowned king. Charles married Camilla, his long-time lover, five years ago and at the time of the marriage, it was officially decided that she would have the title Princess Consort if Charles becomes king.

A CNN/ComRes poll this week found that more than three-quarters of those surveyed believed William and Middleton’s wedding would be good for the monarchy.

While many Britons welcome William’s wedding, set for spring or summer next year, some have expressed concern that a lavish event would be inappropriate for a country reeling from harsh austerity measures to tackle a record budget deficit.

Reporting by Mohammed Abbas: Editing by David Stamp