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  #761  
Old 04-18-2021, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halley View Post
"Most British Royals up until QEII's generation spoke German first. English came along later. Most spoke with a German accent in English.

Remember that the British Royals to this day are still looked upon by their aristocracy as being german and not english."



I know this was posted some years ago, but I feel I must correct this misconception. Queen Victoria was adamant that her first language was English - and a voice recording of her late in her reign does not have any German accent. She said she only learned to speak German after her marriage to Prince Albert. Her children all learnt English as a first language and from then on it was always English in the British Royal Family. Even Queen Mary (ostensibly a German Princess - Princess May of Teck) had a British mother (Queen Victoria's cousin Mary Adelaide of GB) and the family was brought up in England.
The only recording of Victoria's voice is scarcely intelligible. However of the thousands of her subjects she came into contact with over the course of her life, no one remarked she sounded like a foreigner (though many did on the quality and clarity of her voice), so despite having a German mother and a German governess, her speech was clearly and deliberately given special attention. I don't believe she only learned German after marrying Albert, but I do believe her when she says her first language was English, even if I'm not 100% certain from whom she would have learned it!

Their son, otoh... there are persistent reports Bertie/Edward VII had some Germanic pronunciation, or at least "R"s, and no recording of his voice to support or dispute it. We know he spoke fluent French and German like his mother.

George V sounded like a normal guy. Not even posh. If he could speak German or Danish, I'm not sure what he did with it, considering he didn't like "abroad". May of Teck was considered to be British, name aside, even by British people.

David/Edward VIII spoke German fluently, not to his benefit, and I'm pretty sure George VI could too, but, again, no idea what Bertie did with it.
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  #762  
Old 04-18-2021, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halley View Post
"Most British Royals up until QEII's generation spoke German first. English came along later. Most spoke with a German accent in English.

Remember that the British Royals to this day are still looked upon by their aristocracy as being german and not english."



I know this was posted some years ago, but I feel I must correct this misconception. Queen Victoria was adamant that her first language was English - and a voice recording of her late in her reign does not have any German accent. She said she only learned to speak German after her marriage to Prince Albert. Her children all learnt English as a first language and from then on it was always English in the British Royal Family. Even Queen Mary (ostensibly a German Princess - Princess May of Teck) had a British mother (Queen Victoria's cousin Mary Adelaide of GB) and the family was brought up in England.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
The only recording of Victoria's voice is scarcely intelligible. However of the thousands of her subjects she came into contact with over the course of her life, no one remarked she sounded like a foreigner (though many did on the quality and clarity of her voice), so despite having a German mother and a German governess, her speech was clearly and deliberately given special attention. I don't believe she only learned German after marrying Albert, but I do believe her when she says her first language was English, even if I'm not 100% certain from whom she would have learned it!

Their son, otoh... there are persistent reports Bertie/Edward VII had some Germanic pronunciation, or at least "R"s, and no recording of his voice to support or dispute it. We know he spoke fluent French and German like his mother.

George V sounded like a normal guy. Not even posh. If he could speak German or Danish, I'm not sure what he did with it, considering he didn't like "abroad". May of Teck was considered to be British, name aside, even by British people.

Edward/VIII spoke German fluently, not to his benefit, and I'm pretty sure George VI could too, but, again, no idea what Bertie did with it.
Count Sigvard Bernadotte writes that his grandfather (the Duke of Connaught) & his siblings often slipped into a German accent when talking among themselves in private.
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  #763  
Old 04-18-2021, 07:49 PM
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The Duchess of Kent may have been determined that Victoria only spoke English as her premier language, but if she did why did she hire a German (the future Baroness Lehven) to be Victoria’s governess? Until Victoria married Albert Fraulein Lehzen and her charge were extremely close and I can’t see the two of them speaking English all the time they were together.
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  #764  
Old 04-18-2021, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
The Duchess of Kent may have been determined that Victoria only spoke English as her premier language, but if she did why did she hire a German (the future Baroness Lehven) to be Victoria’s governess? Until Victoria married Albert Fraulein Lehzen and her charge were extremely close and I can’t see the two of them speaking English all the time they were together.
Lehzen was originally the governess of Feodora of Leiningen and came with with her and the rest of the family to the UK after her mother's marriage to the Duke of Kent in 1819. The main reasons for Lehzen remaining for so long in the household is that she was at first seen as easy to control by the Duchess of Kent and Conroy and later because she had the support of Victoria's royal uncles who grew increasingly worried about the influence Conroy had over her through her mother.
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  #765  
Old 04-18-2021, 08:23 PM
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But Lehzen lasted much longer than during the Conroy years and Victoria’s accession, JR. In fact she was ensconced until well after the marriage to Albert. In those early married years, in spite of his wife’s fondness for Lehzen he grew tired of her being a continual presence in the Household and around his wife as well as the amount of influence she still had over Victoria. So it eventually came to an ultimatum from Albert and Victoria reluctantly agreed she had to go.

The point is though, in this thread, that she was a German (retired to Germany) and undoubtedly would have conversed in German with Victoria at times as her governess and friend.
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  #766  
Old 04-18-2021, 08:34 PM
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Victoria did have a British nurse, Mrs. Brock, and another British woman, Mrs. Louis, who had been in the household of Charlotte of Wales, whom Victoria called "good Louis". She had people to speak English with.
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  #767  
Old 04-18-2021, 09:10 PM
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Yes, of course she did. There were dozens of people in and out of the Royal Household to speak English with. And she didn’t have a German accent. People remarked on her clear bell-like voice and no accent besides an English one was noted.

That doesn’t discount the fact though, that IMO, Victoria didn’t start speaking German on a regular basis as soon as she became engaged to Albert. (And I don’t think it can be denied that in the Victoria and Albert family circle as their children were growing up German was often the language of choice.)


As she grew up I believe that Victoria and Lehzen did speak in German to each other on occasion, and perhaps she sometimes spoke in German to her mother, the Duchess of Kent as well.
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  #768  
Old 04-18-2021, 09:18 PM
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Going through Victoria's letters that are available on Project Gutenberg, most of her correspondence is obviously in English, but there are also a few letters in French (e.g. to King Louis-Philippe, to the Tsar of Russia, to Queen Louise of Belgium, etc.). I don't recall seeing any letter written in German, but I didn't go through all of the files, and it is possible that there were documents in German which were translated into English by the Editors.


The link below is an article from the Goethe Institute on Queen Victoria's German language skills.


https://www.goethe.de/ins/gb/en/kul/.../21618144.html
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  #769  
Old 04-18-2021, 09:37 PM
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If we are talking family letters I have seen letters from Queen Victoria to her daughter Vicky (the Empress Friedrich) in which German expressions appear in the middle of English sentences. So do French ones especially when discussing ‘indelicate’ subjects such as scandals or a royal’s less pleasant characteristics. A bit like other royals who could speak a few languages I suppose. Years ago I read several short letters from Albert to his wife composed entirely in German.

The German language spoken at Court and the importance of several of Prince Albert’s aides including his librarian. Also, the letters to German relatives from Victoria.


https://www.goethe.de/ins/gb/en/kul/.../21618147.html
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  #770  
Old 04-19-2021, 02:44 PM
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Not what but how:
This is where "George V sounded like an ordinary guy" comes from. Also, *spoiler alert*.
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  #771  
Old 04-20-2021, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
If we are talking family letters I have seen letters from Queen Victoria to her daughter Vicky (the Empress Friedrich) in which German expressions appear in the middle of English sentences. So do French ones especially when discussing ‘indelicate’ subjects such as scandals or a royal’s less pleasant characteristics. A bit like other royals who could speak a few languages I suppose. Years ago I read several short letters from Albert to his wife composed entirely in German.

The German language spoken at Court and the importance of several of Prince Albert’s aides including his librarian. Also, the letters to German relatives from Victoria.


https://www.goethe.de/ins/gb/en/kul/.../21618147.html
Since teh RF in Victorias day and in Georgian times nearly always married Germans, its hardly surprising that they spoke as much German in private as they did English. Victoria would have grown up iwht a German speaking mother, with her Governess Lehzen and other relatives and Im sure that a lot of German was spoken... but she also had English relatives and friends and servants so she would be perfectly fluent in English...
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  #772  
Old 04-20-2021, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post

BTW I've never actually heard Charles speaking French, but, as accented as it may be, I'm pretty sure he must be much better than William. I heard that Camilla speaks French quite well, as she actually lived in French-speaking countries for a while.
Here you are. German was his second language spoken at home aswell as being taught at school, French maybe his third and only taught at school.

https://youtu.be/3YWT8aoc6rA
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  #773  
Old 05-04-2021, 07:03 AM
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I just saw a clip in the stories of excellent Instagram account Spanishroyaljewels featuring King Paul of Greece with his wife, children and son-in-law where it's said by the speaker that while the language of the family is English, Paul and Fredrika spoke German to each other.
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