How to speak like Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles or Prince William

Tracey Furniss, South China Morning Post

Posted at May 17 2021 01:30 PM

Which words will you never, ever, hear Queen Elizabeth, Prince William, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and the rest of the British royals utter? Surprisingly, some common English words are simply never said in high society.

Social anthropologist Kate Fox, in her 2004 book Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour, came up with a list of verbal dos and don’ts when interacting with the Windsors and others in high society. So if you want to talk like a royal, take note, here are 15 words one would never use.


Most of us would describe a royal as “posh”, but they themselves would never be heard using the word unless they were being ironic. No, they would describe someone as “smart”.


The word “serviette” already sounds “posh”, but if you want to be elevated to royal circles, you need to refer to it as a napkin.

Sweet, dessert

The upper crust of society would never ask for dessert or sweet: they would refer to the end of a meal as pudding. Or some very “smart” people would shorten it to pud.


Another foodie word to avoid when hanging out at Windsor Castle would be the word “portion”. One would never ask for a small portion of food, no, we would ask for a small “helping” of food.


When inviting a royal to a wedding or a fancy party, you would never write “refreshments will be served”, you would have to write “food and drink”.


Most people in the UK, depending where you live, talk about going to a do or function when referring to a celebratory event, but the royals would only ever go to a party.


If you are looking for the restroom next time you are at Buckingham Palace, ask for the loo or lavatory. The word “toilet” is frowned upon, as it comes from the French language.


While many people have patios near their house, the royals describe such concrete or stone landscaping as a terrace.

Lounge, living room

Most people in Britain refer to their main room for relaxing and watching television as the living room, others would say lounge. However the royals use neither: they describe the front room as the drawing room or sitting room.

Couch, settee

When you are relaxing in the sitting room, it would most probably be on a couch or settee in most homes in Britain. But for the royals, it would be a sofa.


It’s scent, my dear!


You may have heard Prince Charles on several occasions refer to his mother, Queen Elizabeth, as mummy. Most famously, during her 92nd birthday party, the queen was seen looking wide-eyed after he referred to her as mummy in public. Usually the royals refer to the queen as Her Majesty or mother when talking about her in public. But it seems that her adult children call her mummy, not mum.


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