Almost half of the British public believe Prince Charles should stand aside and let his eldest son William become the next king, polling shows.

The survey by BMG Research on behalf of The Independent found 46 per cent of Britons want the first in line to the throne to abdicate immediately to allow the Duke of Cambridge to take the throne.

Meanwhile, just 20 per cent of those surveyed think the Prince of Wales's wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, should take the title of queen should he become the next monarch.

The Prince of Wales is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, having become first in line to the throne in 1952 upon his grandfather George VI's death almost 67 years ago.

Despite an apparently significant amount of public support for the move, Charles seems unlikely at this time to step aside and allow his son to take the throne in his place.

Just 13 per cent said they would “strongly oppose”, while 11 per cent said they would “somewhat oppose”. A little under a third of those surveyed – 29 per cent – expressed no opinion on the matter.