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Wednesday, December 24, 1997 Published at 03:28 GMT


A princely sum of people take to Charles
image: [ Photcalls like this with the Spice Girls and Nelson Mandela have helped the Prince's popularity ]
Photcalls like this with the Spice Girls and Nelson Mandela have helped the Prince's popularity

The Prince of Wales's popularity has soared since the death of his former wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, according to a new poll.

In a dramatic change of public opinion Prince Charles is now on a par with the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the Mori survey for The Times shows.

Just 29% of interviewees were unhappy with the way Prince Charles was carrying out his duties while 61% were satisfied.

The latter is up 15% compared to a similar poll in August.

The latest figures are being seen as public approval of his conduct after Princess Diana's death.

His ratings improved most among the over 55s, middle classes and Labour voters, the newspaper said.

Since the Princess's death, Prince Charles has appeared to have adopted a more relaxed, informal approach to his duties.

[ image: Puckering up for Posh]
Puckering up for Posh
Royal watchers speculated the change in attitude may have been attributable to pressure from Downing Street and Buckingham Palace attempting to improve his image.

The change was seen in his recent tour of Africa and by taking Prince Harry to South Africa to meet the Spice Girls and Nelson Mandela.

Tony Blair saw a drop in his approval ratings over the past month to 61% satisfied compared with 27% dissatisfied.

However, his showing was still better than Margaret Thatcher at any time during her premiership.

Both men still lag behind the Queen, who scores the highest approval rating, with 72% of those asked saying they were satisfied with the way she was doing her job.

The poll of 2,122 adults showed that only 15% of people thought Britain would be better if the monarchy was abolished.

This showed a swing away from republicanism since September.

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