Three quarters of Britons think royal baby will be king: Poll

In this Tuesday, July 23, 2013 file photo, Britain's Prince William carries his new born son, the Prince of Cambridge, who was born on Monday. into public view for the first time. Almost three quarters of Britons think newborn Prince George will be k
In this Tuesday, July 23, 2013 file photo, Britain's Prince William carries his new born son, the Prince of Cambridge, who was born on Monday. into public view for the first time. Almost three quarters of Britons think newborn Prince George will be king and the country will not opt for a republic before his turn arrives, a poll published Saturday said. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

LONDON, England (AFP) - Almost three quarters of Britons think newborn Prince George will be king and the country will not opt for a republic before his turn arrives, a poll published on Saturday said.

Some 74 per cent believe baby George, born on Monday, will take the throne to which he is third in line, The ComRes poll for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper found.

The poll appears to represent a surge in confidence in the royal family: ComRes found in 2011 that 57 per cent thought there would still be a monarch in 50 years.

In the latest poll, only 9 per cent thought Britain would abolish its monarchy to become a republic before George accedes to the throne.

Baby George has been the subject of a media frenzy, with news channels offering wall-to-wall coverage in the days surrounding his birth.

He is the first child of Prince William and wife Catherine, whose spectacular wedding in 2011 helped to renew the country's affection for a monarchy tarnished by scandals during the late 20th century.

Some 66 per cent told pollsters they thought Britain was better off as a monarchy, with 17 per cent favouring ditching the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth II, 87, was the most popular royal, with 26 per cent of Britons citing her as their favourite.

After the queen came second in line to the throne William, 31, his brother Harry, 28, and then glamorous Catherine, the former Kate Middleton.

But heir to the throne Prince Charles, who lost favour during his public split with princess Diana and is perceived as meddling in government affairs, was the favourite of just four per cent of respondents.

Some 43 percent thought the £36.1 million (S$70.2 million) that taxpayers spend each year on the royals, excluding the cost of security, was good value for money, but 40 per cent said it was not.

Anti-monarchists in Britain are spearheaded by pressure group Republic, which launched an online campaign under the hashtag #bornequal to coincide with George's birth.

But it has failed to win many new converts, with republicans making up about 15 per cent of Britons for the past ten years, according to polls.

The queen is currently head of state in another 15 Commonwealth realms as well as Britain.

ComRes interviewed 2,005 British adults online on 24 and 25 July 2013, with the data then weighted to be representative of all Britons aged 18 and over.