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  #701  
Old 04-05-2021, 03:50 PM
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According to Sally Bedell-Smith, Diana refused to even try to speak French or Italian with the other students at Institut Videmadette(?) in Switzerland. She limited her interactions to her fellow British aristocrats.

Ironically, what finally persuaded Lord and Lady Spencer to throw in the towel and concede defeat was Diana refusing to attend any classes except cooking...she wrote her parents that she didn't go to class, skied all day and was tasting so many of the rich sauces in cooking class that she was becoming fat.

That did the trick. I guess that's where the Spencers drew the line.
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  #702  
Old 04-05-2021, 03:54 PM
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Another thought about Philip and languages — the Navy never seems to have asked him to do anything with his French or especially his German, and the WWII British military was pretty desperate to use every multilingual person that they had. Even his girlfriend at the time, Osla, wound up working at Bletchley.

So unless they asked Philip to do something that's still classified? It's, again, a bit weird.
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  #703  
Old 04-05-2021, 09:21 PM
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Did Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, Marchioness of Milford-Haven speak Russian when she visited her sisters Empress Alexandra and Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia?
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  #704  
Old 04-05-2021, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by CyrilVladisla View Post
Did Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, Marchioness of Milford-Haven speak Russian when she visited her sisters Empress Alexandra and Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia?
Since they were German princesses and I don't think Victoria spoke Russian (and Alicky was never particularly comfortable in it, considering her children spoke English to her), wouldn't it make sense they spoke German? Or even English.
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  #705  
Old 04-06-2021, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Tweetybird View Post
Diana lack of an interest in language ability or world travel during language development ages would show that both her children have zero language ability. Excuse me. William and Harry have little language ability. ZERO.
Why would Diaana's lack of language ability show that her children have poor language ability? She didn't go to college, but her son William did. I dont know of any necessary correlation between the language ability of a parent, and a child....
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  #706  
Old 04-06-2021, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
Another thought about Philip and languages — the Navy never seems to have asked him to do anything with his French or especially his German, and the WWII British military was pretty desperate to use every multilingual person that they had. Even his girlfriend at the time, Osla, wound up working at Bletchley.

So unless they asked Philip to do something that's still classified? It's, again, a bit weird.
Philip was on active service and Im sure he would prefer that to a desk job..
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  #707  
Old 04-06-2021, 02:11 AM
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I can't see why Diana's lack of language ability would show that William or Harry would have a similar lack, either.


I doubt that Alix's sister Victoria spoke Russian - I'd assume they spoke German or English. Probably English.
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  #708  
Old 04-06-2021, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonmaiden23 View Post
According to Sally Bedell-Smith, Diana refused to even try to speak French or Italian with the other students at Institut Videmadette(?) in Switzerland. She limited her interactions to her fellow British aristocrats.

Ironically, what finally persuaded Lord and Lady Spencer to throw in the towel and concede defeat was Diana refusing to attend any classes except cooking...she wrote her parents that she didn't go to class, skied all day and was tasting so many of the rich sauces in cooking class that she was becoming fat.

That did the trick. I guess that's where the Spencers drew the line.
I'd imagine that it had nothing much to do with the cooking or "Diana becoming fat" as she claimed...and a lot to do with the fact that Diana was clearly unhappy there and didn't want to be at finishing school. if she wasn't learning anything at all and was very unhappy and homesick, there was no point in keeping her there....
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  #709  
Old 04-06-2021, 03:15 AM
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Mother tongue

I was being very blunt when I was thinking about language skills of Diana who I have compassion for her and her situation before her tragic death. What I meant is that many language skills are taught by our mothers. For me living in France we speak English at home and French everywhere else. And I have my son read out loud since he was a child from very difficult books so he has a normal reading level in English. So a mother's language ability can be a factor in children language skills. At my sons French school he sits in as a sort of student helper to help the other students with their English. My point here is that mothers can pass their mother tongue to their children. In Diana's situation only speaking English that is all she could teach which is fine. Many people only speak one language. I am certain Harry and William have studied languages going to the best schools available. I wouldn't call either of them fluent in another language. Maybe they are better than most traveling so often and meeting so many foreign speakers they likely get more chances to improve than most. I saw here that William gave a speech in French. Is he fluent?
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  #710  
Old 04-06-2021, 04:58 AM
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Regarding Philip's knowledge of languages I remembered this quote of his:
'If anything, I've thought of myself as Scandinavian. Particularly, Danish. We spoke English at home,' Prince Philip recalls today. 'The others learned Greek. I could understand a certain amount of it. But then the (conversation) would go into French. Then it went into German, on occasion, because we had German cousins. If you couldn't think of a word in one language, you tended to go off in another.'

It's also mentioned in the article how sign language was an integral part of family life.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...p-1563268.html
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  #711  
Old 04-06-2021, 05:27 AM
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Sign language

Until reading the article posted about Prince Philip's interview at 71 I did not know his mother Alice was deaf since 4 years old. So they used sign language. So this might have been Prince Philip's first experience with language. How interesting. And what a tragic childhood. It is a miracle really that he managed to do as well as he has done. Although I often wondered if feelings in his household were not considered important. All his children seem to struggle with personal relationships. Just very interesting that Prince Philip was raised by a deaf mother, absent father and sounds like almost like an only child. I have been to Corfu it is a beautiful place. I can understand why his mother would be traumatized by having her husbands life threatened and the close escape with their lives. Obviously Prince Philip speaks French and German and English and sounds like he can sign and understand some Greek. Living in a bilingual household I understand the funny situations one finds oneself in trying to communicate. Often I will speak in English and my husband and son will speak to me in French. As these are our more comfortable languages. My husband speaks German and I speak some Spanish. My husband grew up in a German speaking part of France. Anyway, from my household experience I can understand Prince Philip description of using different ways to communicate. I find the sign language knowledge very interesting.
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  #712  
Old 04-06-2021, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweetybird View Post
I was being very blunt when I was thinking about language skills of Diana who I have compassion for her and her situation before her tragic death. What I meant is that many language skills are taught by our mothers. For me living in France we speak English at home and French everywhere else. And I have my son read out loud since he was a child from very difficult books so he has a normal reading level in English. So a mother's language ability can be a factor in children language skills. At my sons French school he sits in as a sort of student helper to help the other students with their English. My point here is that mothers can pass their mother tongue to their children. In Diana's situation only speaking English that is all she could teach which is fine. Many people only speak one language. I am certain Harry and William have studied languages going to the best schools available. I wouldn't call either of them fluent in another language. Maybe they are better than most traveling so often and meeting so many foreign speakers they likely get more chances to improve than most. I saw here that William gave a speech in French. Is he fluent?
I dont think that Wiliam is fluent in French.. but I can't see what it has to do with Diana. Most people I'd say can only speak one language.. so Diana was hardly different to the majority of English people. her kids would have learned languages at school but probably never learned to speak well in French, and once they left school, they lost whatever they had learned as most of us do...
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  #713  
Old 04-06-2021, 05:17 PM
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William and Harry both grew up in England, with two English-speaking parents. It was different for past royals. Prince Philip was born in Greece with one Danish grandparent, one Russian grandparent, one German grandparent and one half-German, half-British grandparent, spent part of his childhood in France and part in Britain, and had a brief spell at school in Germany. Two very different scenarios!
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  #714  
Old 04-06-2021, 06:41 PM
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I’d say that Prince Philip kept his German speaking skills up mainly because I remember reading years and years ago that he would pay private visits to his sisters and brothers in law in Germany and sometimes take his elder children Charles and Anne with him. This lasted into the late 1960s at least.

As these sisters remained close to their brother and had children and grandchildren of their own I can’t imagine that family conversations would be conducted entirely in English, though I suppose some would among the younger members who could speak English, for Charles and Anne’s benefit.


I remember reading that in the early years of the marriage Charles really wanted ‘the German cousins’ to stay with him and his family for a while, but Diana wasn’t keen so the idea was dropped. These cousins would have spoken English I guess as I’ve never heard that Charles (or Anne) were/are fluent in German, which is a shame in a way.
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  #715  
Old 04-06-2021, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Denville View Post
I dont think that Wiliam is fluent in French.. but I can't see what it has to do with Diana. Most people I'd say can only speak one language.. so Diana was hardly different to the majority of English people. her kids would have learned languages at school but probably never learned to speak well in French, and once they left school, they lost whatever they had learned as most of us do...
Probably most people in the UK speak only one language. But worldwide, the majority speaks multiple languages. In this country, for example, very few people (less than 1%) will only speak one language (typically those who hardly had any schooling); most others will typically speak at least 3 languages.

I found this statistic:
Monolingual: 40%
Bilingual: 43%
Trilingual: 13%
Quadrilingual: 3%
Quintilingual(+): 0.1%

English-speaking countries typically have a higher percentage of monolingual people.

So, while I understand that for a British prince it isn't as important as for other royals, imho, it would still have been beneficial if he had started learning at least a second language from an early age (and maybe that is what he himself thinks as well; as their children might have learned Spanish from their nanny). For example, while Leonor speaks another often spoken language, i.e., Spanish, she not only studied English but also studied Chinese. Amalia also studied many different languages, while speaking 2 languages fluent (Dutch and Spanish) from an early age and probably 2 languages 'somewhat' (English and German) before starting high school, where she would have taken classes in at least English (classes are in English from the start!), German, French, (both obligatory for at least 3 years) Greek, Latin (both obligatory for 3-4 years; at least one until final year/exam) and Chinese (only for 'Gymnasium Plus' - so, for the best students; this included Amalia).
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  #716  
Old 04-06-2021, 07:17 PM
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I agree, and believe that while it might not be completely necessary for heirs to the throne of the UK to speak at least one other language it makes for a much more rounded person if they do. IMO an opportunity was missed with William and Harry, (an opportunity that won’t come again as it’s harder to learn another language in adulthood than in childhood) and I hope that George and his siblings keep up with speaking Spanish and expand it later, and that at least they will learn fluent French.
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  #717  
Old 04-07-2021, 04:12 AM
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Who says teh children are learning Spanish from their nanny? They may pick up a few phrases but I doubt if they speak Spanish...
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  #718  
Old 04-07-2021, 05:23 AM
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Modern Royals and language

Modern royals often do not marry royals from other countries as in times past to create alliances and political power through marriage. So language ability would be less important in modern times.

It reminds me of a scene in some dumb holly wood movie I think it was Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst being taken as an Austrian Queen to the French Court. And there was some sort of I am sure totally inaccurate trade off on the road from the Austrian to the French court. And Kirsten Dunst is told to strip and they take her Austrian dog away and she is redressed in French clothes and gets into a French carriage.

I think Prince Philips seems to have experienced some of these submerging his self to take on the new self. And a lot of royal ceremonies even marriage is about becoming someone else. With modern royals able to marry commoners from their own cultures it is less likely more than one language will be spoken amongst the families.

I remember reading in a magazine another of my illustrious sources that Prince Albert of Monaco's South African Dutch bride had a terrible time adapting to the French language and culture. And was unhappy. Me being American having married a French man I am very interested in how people adapt and cope with multicultural lifestyles.

I think once as in Prince Phillips life time royals were only allowed to marry other royals with great social problems if the partner was not considered socially right. Leading to lots of languages in royal families. As well as the past times marriages for political alliance.

I agree that studying another language helps make someone a more rounded person but not necessary to be a well rounded person.
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  #719  
Old 04-07-2021, 07:05 AM
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meghan seemed to speak a good level of french when she visited morocco (she was only heard speaking to a couple of schoolgirls over their plans for life, so admittedly it was an informal conversation so unsure what her real level of french is like). she lived in argentina so assume she speaks a decent spanish.
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  #720  
Old 04-07-2021, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweetybird View Post
Modern royals often do not marry royals from other countries as in times past to create alliances and political power through marriage. So language ability would be less important in modern times.

It reminds me of a scene in some dumb holly wood movie I think it was Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst being taken as an Austrian Queen to the French Court. And there was some sort of I am sure totally inaccurate trade off on the road from the Austrian to the French court. And Kirsten Dunst is told to strip and they take her Austrian dog away and she is redressed in French clothes and gets into a French carriage.

I think Prince Philips seems to have experienced some of these submerging his self to take on the new self. And a lot of royal ceremonies even marriage is about becoming someone else. With modern royals able to marry commoners from their own cultures it is less likely more than one language will be spoken amongst the families.

I remember reading in a magazine another of my illustrious sources that Prince Albert of Monaco's South African Dutch bride had a terrible time adapting to the French language and culture. And was unhappy. Me being American having married a French man I am very interested in how people adapt and cope with multicultural lifestyles.

I think once as in Prince Phillips life time royals were only allowed to marry other royals with great social problems if the partner was not considered socially right. Leading to lots of languages in royal families. As well as the past times marriages for political alliance.

I agree that studying another language helps make someone a more rounded person but not necessary to be a well rounded person.
Yes I think that Charleen's had difficulties adapting to Monaco, though she lived there with Albert for a time before she was married.. but I think that she doesn't speak very good French and that may be one reason why she's not that happy and is not that involved with charity duties...Besides foreign brides often get criticism for their accents or for not speaking the language of their new country well... like Mary Donaldson in Denmark....
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