Royal wedding douses New Zealand's republican flame

Wed May 4, 2011 12:52am EDT
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WELLINGTON (Reuters Life!) - The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is being credited with rekindling the loyalty of New Zealand, the likely future king's most distant realm.

A survey released Wednesday showed approval of the British royal family had risen to 74 percent after the wedding, compared with 60 percent when the question was last asked in July 2002.

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II the nominal head of state represented by a Governor General.

Around 1 million people lined the streets of central London to share in the show royal pomp and pageantry last week, with media estimates putting the global television audience at up to 2.4 billion.

The country's loose republican ambitions have taken a knock, with only 33 percent expecting the country to become a republic within the next 20 years from 58 percent in a 2005 survey.

The level of support for New Zealand becoming a republic was just 24 percent. Other surveys have put support for a republic at around 33 percent.

Prince William has visited New Zealand twice in the 12 months, most recently in March when he represented the Queen at a memorial service for victims of the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

(Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Alex Richardson)

<p>Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, walk together in Buckingham Palace, following their wedding on Friday, in central London April 30, 2011. (ROYAL WEDDING) REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool</p>