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Anti-Monarchy Groups Claim Growing Support as Queen Elizabeth Turns 90

© REUTERS / Chris JacksonQueen Elizabeth II arrives at the Queen Elizabeth II delivery office in Windsor with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on April 20, 2016 in Windsor, Britain.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the Queen Elizabeth II delivery office in Windsor with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on April 20, 2016 in Windsor, Britain. - Sputnik International
As final preparations get underway for Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday Thursday (April 21) anti-monarchy campaigners say they are "stronger than ever," despite popular support for the Queen and the younger royals.

Campaign group Republic says Britain needs a serious debate about our head of state as we fast approach the succession of King Charles. The group says it has been steadily growing in strength in recent years, taking on members, better resourced and better equipped to challenge the monarchy.

"Headline polling figures mask what's really happening: a growing indifference to the royals, a greater sense of citizenship and disillusionment with the political system — and an active, organized republicanism that is increasingly clear about the way ahead," the group's CEO, Graham Smith, told Sputnik.

"We can also see a loosening of support for monarchies in Europe and the Commonwealth. When one falls others will follow and that will change the debate here in the UK. Crucially, organized republicanism is now better organized than ever before. We know we have our work cut out, but we're traveling in the right direction and at good speed."

Greatest Monarch

"The Queen's birthday reminds us that support for the monarchy is bound up with support for the Queen. In a hereditary monarchy the Queen's age becomes a political issue. Long before the Queen dies the country will need to debate what happens next. With the republican movement stronger than ever — and growing — and with the succession looming on the horizon, the monarchy is in a more perilous position than pundits will tell you this week," Smith told Sputnik.

Elizabeth II, is considered to be the greatest monarch in British history, according to a recent poll by Survation. When asked "Who do you consider to be the greatest Monarch in English/British history," 27 percent of respondents said Queen Elizabeth II, and there was a strong showing for other female Monarchs, with 17 percent of those surveyed choosing Queen Victoria and 17 percent opting for Queen Elizabeth I. King Henry VIII trailed behind, gaining just 4 percent of the vote.

However, Prince William managed to score a victory among the present royal family, with 21 percent of respondents saying that he is their "favorite current member of the royal family," compared to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry, who gained 16 percent apiece. Prince Charles gained a mere 2 percent of the vote.

Support for the Monarchy as an institution remains high, with 71 percent of respondents agreeing that "the UK should keep a Monarch as head of state" and a small — but significant — minority of 21 percent in agreement with the statement: "the UK should abolish the Monarchy and become a Republic."

Royal Mail is celebrating the 90th birthday of HM The Queen with ten Special Stamps featuring four generations of the House of Windsor, photographed for Royal Mail by Ranald Mackechnie.

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