UK public turn against Meghan and Harry after racism claims
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, with Prince Harry, claims the British Royal family did little to help protect her from the UK tabloid press in documents published as she presses her case in court Michele Spatari AFP/File

Prince Harry and his mixed-race wife Meghan's popularity has fallen sharply in Britain after their explosive interview accusing the royal family of racism, a poll suggested Friday.

More than 11 million people in Britain, and 50 million in the United States watched the couple claim that an unnamed royal had asked how dark their baby's skin would be.

The allegations, which the royal family said would be investigated, have plunged the monarchy into its biggest crisis since the death of Harry's mother, princess Diana, in 1997.

But the controversy has also polarised opinion on both sides of the Atlantic.

A YouGov poll said Harry's popularity rating has fallen to 44 percent and for the first time, a larger proportion of British people view him negatively (48 percent).

In a poll early this month, in anticipation of the interview, 53 percent of the public said they viewed him positively.

Meghan already had a net negative rating, which has now risen to 58 percent from 53 percent, but only three in 10 (31 percent) view her positively, down from 38 percent.

The couple's popularity has gradually fallen since their 2018 wedding, according to YouGov, as they reportedly fell out with Harry's brother Prince William and his wife Kate, and announced they were stepping away from royal duties.

The couple split the generations, with strong support from young people in Britain. Among 18-24 year-olds, 55 percent like Meghan and 59 percent like Harry.

Those over 65 overwhelmingly dislike both -- 69 percent view Harry negatively, while the figure for Meghan is 83 percent.

The poll found the interview also hit Prince Charles's popularity. He has not commented after Harry said that his father at one point stopped taking his calls and complained his family "literally cut me off financially".

Charles is now viewed favourably by 49 percent of British people, down from 57 percent.

Most royals have not seen their popularity affected, the poll found. Queen Elizabeth II has a popularity rating of 80 percent.

The 94-year-old monarch said in a statement that she was saddened at hearing of the couple's unhappiness. She called the racism claim "concerning", although suggested that "some recollections may vary".

The results contrast with a US poll by Morning Consult which found the Oprah interview boosted the couple's popularity there by more than 20 percentage points, with 69 percent now taking a favourable view of Harry and 67 percent of Meghan.