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Obama To Prince Charles: We'll Never Be Royals

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales smiles with President Obama at the White House Thursday.
Chris Jackson
Getty Images
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales smiles with President Obama at the White House Thursday.

President Obama may be having some postcode envy.

As members of the press corps poured into the Oval Office in the White House to get pictures of Obama and Prince Charles, Obama whispered to Charles, "I think it's fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the royal family."

He went on: "They like them much better than they like their own politicians."

Prince Charles, laughing, gave the only polite answer he could in return: "I don't believe that."

Charles, who is on a four-day trip to the U.S. with wife Camilla, may not believe it, but Obama might be right.

The president's job-approval rating stands in the mid-to-high 40s — 46 percent in the latest CNN/ORC, NBC/WSJ, and McClatchy Marist polls. (Congressional approval is even worse — only 16% of likely U.S. voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job, per Gallup.)

But the Queen's popularity in the U.S. was around 82% — a 15-year high — according to a 2012 CNN/ORC poll. And in the U.K, 90 percent of Brits said they were satisfied with the way the Queen was doing her job, according to a 2012 Ipsos/Mori poll.

Of course, any time someone is viewed outside of a political lens, they're always seen more favorably. Just look at Hillary Clinton's ratings as secretary of state versus as a candidate.

But if TV ratings are any indication of popularity, President Obama can be consoled there. Only 23 million Americans watched the royal wedding in 2011. But nearly 32 million Americans did tune into Obama's State of the Union address in January — even though it was his lowest-rated one yet.

And despite what started as a troubled relationship back in the 1700s, the royal family seems to today love America right back.

This trip is Prince Charles's 19th to the United States. Speaking to the president, he also praised his "nice" trip to Mount Vernon Tuesday.

"Because, you know, I went there 45 years ago — in 1970," the prince said, "so it was fantastic. It is very special there."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amita Kelly is a Washington editor, where she works across beats and platforms to edit election, politics and policy news and features stories.