Kate Middleton had to say goodbye to a lot when she married into the British Royal Family in 2011 such as being able to walk down to the shops without being swamped by paparazzi and the middle-class dictionary. No, you didn’t read that incorrectly. According to Anthropologist Kate Fox, there are some words that will mark you as a commoner within the Royal Family.
To help us all become a little more royal, I have provided a few key terms and translations so us commoners can now be worthy to communicate with Prince Charles and co.
Us commoners enjoy sitting on the ‘patio’ at home and relax, while the royals prefer to relax on a ‘terrace’.
Commoners English: ‘Hey, want to go chat on the patio’
Royal English: ‘Kind sir/madam would you wish to join me on the terrace for a canapé or two?’
Referring to the course at the end of a meal as anything other than ‘pudding’ will immediately mark you as middle-class. This means words like, ‘sweet’ and ‘afters’ are strictly off limits. It does make you wonder what the Queen says when she offers Prince George sweets like all great grandmothers do? Maybe, lollies or candy?
Commoners English: ‘Anyone for an after dinner sweet?’
Royal English: ‘Would sir/madam care for a spot of after dinner pudding.’
If you want to be considered ‘posh’ by the Royal Family you’ll have to stop using the word ‘posh’. Royals are not ‘posh’. They are ‘smart’. However, the Royals do seem to have a sense of humour and ironically use the term around other upper-class elite to emphasise it’s a lower-class word.
Commoners English: ‘Prince Charles is very dressed up today.’ ‘Yes he looks very posh today’
Royal English: ‘I say Charles you are looking extremely smart today.’
At least we now know that Posh Spice isn’t actually all that posh, sorry Becks.
There are no ‘portions’, as that clearly sounds way too middle class when eating a meal. It should instead be referred to as a helping.
Commoners English: ‘Would you like a bigger portion?’
Royal English: ‘I say this helping is far too small, I wish to have a larger helping good sir/madam’
The Royal Family has never sat in a lounge, can you believe that? They sit in drawing rooms instead, where I imagine they all partake in drawing and other art and craft activities. They may also use it as a lounge room but are just too smart to actually call it a lounge room.
Commoners English: ‘Come into the lounge, I’ll make some coffee’
Royal English: ‘Would thou wish to join me in the drawing room for a spot of tea and scones?’
Mom and Dad
Commoner children refer to parents as ‘Mom and Dad’ while royal children call their parents ‘Mummy and Daddy’. Just imagine a fully grown man such referring to their Mom as ‘Mummy’ it would look unusual anywhere in common society, but in the Royal Family it is completely normal.
Commoner English: ‘Mom can I borrow the car to go down to the cafe?’
Royal English: ‘Mummy, can I take the Rolls to the country club today?’
All I have in my head right now is Prince Charles walking around Buckingham Palace calling for Mummy.
Refreshments are far too common for Royals. They are more precise in what they want, they prefer ‘food and drink’. So be sure the next time you go to offer a member of the Royal Family refreshments to offer them ‘food and drink’ instead so you don’t sound too common.
Commoner English: ‘Go into the Lounge room I’ll bring refreshments’
Royal English: ‘Would you like to join me in the west wing Drawing room for some food and drink?’
That makes sense.
This one is slightly more normal, what commoners call a ‘do’ or a ‘function’ the Royals call a ‘party’. This could get confusing though if the party turns out to be a function and not the uncontrolled college-style party hosted by Prince Harry.
Commoner English: ‘I’m having a function this week would you like to come?’
Royal English: ‘Would sir/madam wish to join us for a party at the countryside estate this Saturday?’
If Harry is hosting, it’s a party I would love to be at!
‘Pardon’ is seen by the Royals an attempt by the commoners to sound classier by using a word derived from French. The Royals prefer a simple ‘sorry’ or ‘what’. This goes against all I was taught about ‘what’ being rude and disrespectful as a child.
Commoners English: ‘Pardon? Could you repeat that please?’
Royal English: ‘Sorry, good sir/madam could you please repeat that phrase you just said?’
While most children buy their moms ‘perfume’ the Royal children buy mummy ‘scent’.
Commoners English: ‘Happy birthday mom, I bought you some perfume.’
Royal English: ‘Happy birthday mummy, I bought you the finest scent money can buy.’
‘Why thank you Charles.’
‘Serviette’, originally a French word is another word frowned upon by the Royal Family, they prefer to use napkins. Not sure if the Royals don’t like the sound of French words or if they just have a thing against the French
Commoners English: ‘May I have a serviette please?’
Royal English: ‘May I please have a napkin as this one is not the finest quality?’
This will be useful for all the Royal dinner parties you go to.
‘Tea’ is only consumed from a fine china cup in Buckingham Palace and is not allowed to be used when discussing the evening meal of dinner. ‘Dinner’ is not frowned upon like ‘tea’ is but is still not smart enough for the royals as they prefer to have ‘supper’.
Commoners English: ‘What’s for tea tonight mom?’
Royal English: ‘Mummy do you know what the chef is cooking for supper tonight?’
‘Toilet is another French word not allowed inside Buckingham Palace. The Royals prefer it to be called a ‘loo’ or ‘lavatory’ or if you have a smart Royal accent it’s pronounced ‘lavuhtry’. It is also considered common to refer to it as a ‘bathroom’, ‘powder room’, the ‘facilities’ and any other word that isn’t ‘loo’ or ‘lavatory’.
Commoners English: ‘Where’s the toilet here?’
Royal English: ‘Kind sir/madam could you kindly direct me in to the lavuhtry?’