Kate Middleton has faced criticism from both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their recent high-profile media ventures, but despite a dip in polling she has managed to remain one of the most popular royals among Brits, unlike the Stateside couple, new data has revealed.

Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 in September 2022, Kate has sought to evolve her image to reflect a more business-like and work-focused Princess of Wales, experts told Newsweek.

This change has come against the backdrop of stories detailing a falling out with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Meghan saying, for instance, that she found Kate’s “formality” shocking when she joined the royal family, as recounted in her Netflix show released in December.

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton photographed March 17, 2023. The princess remains one of the most popular royals in Britain despite a small dip in recent polling.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

According to new data from YouGov compiled over the first quarter of 2023, Kate didn’t come through the period unscathed. Her popularity among Brits actually dropped two percentage points from 58 percent to 56 percent.

This drop had a knock-on effect on her overall net positivity percentage score for Q1 which comes out at +57, down from +59 in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Despite this drop, Kate remains hugely popular among Brits, whereas Harry and Meghan have seen their popularity drop to its lowest level ever. According to YouGov, the couple’s popularity is firmly in negative figures at -22 for Harry and -27 for Meghan.

Kate is tied for the second most popular living royal in Britain with her husband, Prince William. YouGov found both were equally liked by 65 percent of survey respondents.

The most popular living royal is Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest daughter, Princess Anne, who regularly tops the list of hardest-working royals, and is liked by 66 percent of Brits.

Meghan & Harry Netflix Series

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s biggest media release of 2022 was the couple’s eponymous six-part Netflix series, which charted the history of their love story and also documented their dramatic exit from the royal family and move to the U.S. in 2020.

Though the wider focus of the show was their general feeling of being unsupported by the wider royal family and the royal institution as working royals, Kate was briefly mentioned by Meghan when describing how hard she found it to fit in.

“It’s so funny if I look back at it now because now I know so much and I’m so glad I didn’t then. Because I could just authentically be myself without so much preparedness,” the duchess told Netflix viewers of first meeting her husband’s family members.

“Even when Will and Kate came over and I met her for the first time, they came over for dinner and I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot,” she said, before going on to suggest that her future brother- and sister-in-law didn’t immediately warm to her.

“It’s like I was a hugger, I’ve always been a hugger,” she said. “I didn’t realize that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits.”

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle photographed at the Wimbledon tennis championships, July 14, 2018. Meghan recounted her first meeting with Kate in her Netflix docuseries.
Clive Mason/Getty Images

She then added: “I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through to the inside…that there is a forward-facing way of being and then you close the door, and you go ‘Oh…ok we can relax now.’ But that formality carries over on both sides and that was surprising to me.”

Spare Memoir

Kate features as a prominent figure throughout Prince Harry’s bombshell memoir which was published in January, and which despite being leaked to the press a week beforehand still went on to become the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time.

Part of the book’s narrative focussed on the strained relationship between Kate and Meghan and how Harry was surprised that Kate had not been more accommodating to his wife.

At a royal charity forum, the prince recounted how Kate was reluctant to share her lip gloss when Meghan asked to borrow some.

“Kate, taken aback, went into her handbag and reluctantly pulled out a small tube,” he wrote. “Meg squeezed some onto her finger and applied it to her lips. Kate grimaced.”

In a separate incident, the prince alleged that Kate chastised Meghan for saying she had “baby brain” after the birth of Prince Louis in 2018.

“‘You talked about my hormones. We’re not close enough for you to talk about my hormones!'” Kate reportedly told Meghan at a crisis meeting between the sisters-in-law and their husbands.

William, Kate, Harry and Meghan
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle photographed with Kate Middleton and Prince William at a charity forum, February 28, 2018.
CHRIS JACKSON/AFP via Getty Images

One of the most drama-filled scenes in the book saw Harry recount the behind-the-scenes falling out between Kate and Meghan over bridesmaids dresses at the royal wedding.

Kate had apparently told Meghan that Princess Charlotte’s handmade Givenchy bridesmaids dress was “too big, too long, too baggy,” and would need to be remade four days before the wedding which left Meghan “sobbing” on the floor.

Despite summits to sort out any issues, it is apparent from Spare that Kate and Meghan weren’t able to see eye-to-eye.

For her part, Kate has spoken rarely about Harry and Meghan in public, and as yet has made no comment on the contents of the couple’s Netflix show or Harry’s memoir.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We’d love to hear from you.