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  #901  
Old 04-30-2020, 01:45 PM
Serene Highness
 
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The Queen was educated at home, by governesses, and was taught fluent French. William went to school, and speaks French about as well as most other people of our generation who did French GCSE - I'm fine when it comes to ordering a meal in a restaurant or buying a train ticket at a counter, or with a basic "Hello, how are you?" conversation, but certainly not up to complicated diplomatic conversations, and I get the impression that the same goes for William.
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  #902  
Old 04-30-2020, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Alison H View Post
The Queen was educated at home, by governesses, and was taught fluent French. William went to school, and speaks French about as well as most other people of our generation who did French GCSE - I'm fine when it comes to ordering a meal in a restaurant or buying a train ticket at a counter, or with a basic "Hello, how are you?" conversation, but certainly not up to complicated diplomatic conversations, and I get the impression that the same goes for William.
Yes much the same here, although I read French fairly fluently . It is surprising in a way that his French has not been improved as an adult. Maybe granny could give a helping hand.
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  #903  
Old 04-30-2020, 02:31 PM
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Regarding William making jokes about spreading the virus, it's pretty common in both Britain and Ireland to make black humoured jokes about terrible situations to cope, people are doing it right now. He was talking to emergency workers about how they were handling a panicking public - something he has a little experience about no doubt. Not the most diplomatic remarks ever made but nothing to say he's heartless about things.

It does seem as if William has about as much command of any other languages as many people his age - fluency in other common languages is not something the British are known for unless they have family heritage from elsewhere in the world. That said it would be fantastic if he could become more fluent in French and others.
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  #904  
Old 04-30-2020, 02:59 PM
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In the Queen's day, it was a lot more usual for upper-class and even upper-middle-class girls to learn fluent French ... I suppose it was a hangover from the 19th century idea of languages being an accomplishment. It would definitely be useful for William, though.
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  #905  
Old 04-30-2020, 03:23 PM
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I think part of William's "education" that's pretty much been left out here in this discussion carries much more weight than speaking different languages, political science degrees or even studying abroad. William is a man that has trained and worked as a air ambulance pilot and worked in Search and Rescue with the Royal Air Force and later with East Anglia Air Ambulance.

This isn't a job for the faint of heart and requires discipline, courage and being able to make split second decisions in what could be life and death situations. Its also a job where one person doesn't shine but lives depend on teamwork and communication. It also, in my eyes, put William very much in service to the people. Its an area where William is well trained and has been reflected in the times he has gone to places where disasters have struck and even recently with communicating with emergency workers during this pandemic. In cases such like these in the future, he won't be a king that, as one would say "curious of what they do" but with William's experience in emergency work, he'll be considered "one of their own". This is the reason William felt comfortable with using gallows humor with emergency workers.

Its not the level of a degree or the places he's studied or the words he knows how to speak that count but rather his willingness and genuine concern for people that will serve to make him a better king for the people he serves.
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  #906  
Old 04-30-2020, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Madame Verseau View Post
When you're a future head of state and you make a thoughtless, no stupid comment about a pandemic while on a royal tour you need remedial training. William made that comment about he and Kate spreading around COVID 19 while in Ireland and cases were starting to climb. Even as a hot mic moment when you in that position you need to watch what you say. He got dragged on social media for it; he came off as lacking empathy for those who were suffering at the time. William may have done some charity awareness but a public apology for his lack of care would have gone a long way.
Everyone was joking to play down the pandemic at one point : The PM, Charles, Camilla etc . It's called a bit of British humor, i'm not surprised you didn't get it.
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  #907  
Old 04-30-2020, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osipi View Post
I think part of William's "education" that's pretty much been left out here in this discussion carries much more weight than speaking different languages, political science degrees or even studying abroad. William is a man that has trained and worked as a air ambulance pilot and worked in Search and Rescue with the Royal Air Force and later with East Anglia Air Ambulance.

This isn't a job for the faint of heart and requires discipline, courage and being able to make split second decisions in what could be life and death situations. Its also a job where one person doesn't shine but lives depend on teamwork and communication. It also, in my eyes, put William very much in service to the people. Its an area where William is well trained and has been reflected in the times he has gone to places where disasters have struck and even recently with communicating with emergency workers during this pandemic. In cases such like these in the future, he won't be a king that, as one would say "curious of what they do" but with William's experience in emergency work, he'll be considered "one of their own". This is the reason William felt comfortable with using gallows humor with emergency workers.

Its not the level of a degree or the places he's studied or the words he knows how to speak that count but rather his willingness and genuine concern for people that will serve to make him a better king for the people he serves.
No one is disputing William's courage or suitability to be king some day. But the fact that he is the only one of the heirs of his generation that is fluent in only his native language does not reflect well on him. Even the "baby" heirs like Catharina Amalia of the Netherlands, Christian of Denmark, Elisabeth of Belgium, and Leonor of Spain are far ahead of him.

The old excuse that "everyone speaks English so why bother" just doesn't fly imo. His education was just as good and in some cases better than his peers. Guillaume of Luxembourg,his nearest contemporary heir born nine months apart from William, did not attend schools even closely as prestigious as Eton and St. Andrew's but is completely fluent in 5 languages. Three of those(German, Luxembourgish and French) are the languages of the Grand Duchy he will head one day.
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  #908  
Old 04-30-2020, 05:24 PM
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It's not about schools being prestigious, nor about individual pupils. It's just about what is taught. I do find it quite embarrassing when I go to places like the Netherlands and Sweden (well, in the days before Covid-19 put the kibosh on travel) and find that absolutely everyone speaks fluent English, because they've learnt it at school from an early age, and I think language teaching here needs improving, but that's hardly William's personal fault, nor even Eton's.


I did French and Spanish to GCSE level, and got A grades for both, but I'm certainly not fluent, because the education system did not teach me to be fluent. I can speak some Italian too, but not fluently. I'd love to speak them all better, but we're not taught as young kids and don't always have the time as adults.

And why would he have learnt languages at St Andrews? His degree was in geography!


I don't see why any of this reflects badly on William personally, although it's surprising that his parents didn't ensure that he was given some sort of extra language tuition.
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  #909  
Old 04-30-2020, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonmaiden23 View Post
No one is disputing William's courage or suitability to be king some day. But the fact that he is the only one of the heirs of his generation that is fluent in only his native language does not reflect well on him. Even the "baby" heirs like Catharina Amalia of the Netherlands, Christian of Denmark, Elisabeth of Belgium, and Leonor of Spain are far ahead of him.

The old excuse that "everyone speaks English so why bother" just doesn't fly imo. His education was just as good and in some cases better than his peers. Guillaume of Luxembourg,his nearest contemporary heir born nine months apart from William, did not attend schools even closely as prestigious as Eton and St. Andrew's but is completely fluent in 5 languages. Three of those(German, Luxembourgish and French) are the languages of the Grand Duchy he will head one day.
The access to English TV in Belgium, Holland, Denmark areally is much of the reason for their fluency in English. From a young age children watch British TV shows and many speak English with a slightly British accent. Emphasis in education is certainly to do with it but access from an early age is also part of it. The French for instance do not speak English half as well as the Belgians
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  #910  
Old 04-30-2020, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Alison H View Post
I don't see why any of this reflects badly on William personally, although it's surprising that his parents didn't ensure that he was given some sort of extra language tuition.
It's not that he just finished high school... He has had plenty of time to improve his language skills if he wanted to.

I wonder how his Spanish is; as he spend his gap year in Chile if I'm not mistaken. That might have probably 'clouded' his French.
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  #911  
Old 04-30-2020, 07:35 PM
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I forgot the Chilean gap year. Many he can speak passable Spanish? A year in a foreign country is plenty of time, imo.

ETA: Allison the reason Prince William should have learned at least one foreign language as part of his overall education is because he will one day(hopefully) became a modern European monarch.

And as things stand he will be the only British monarch in well over a hundred years who has the distinction of speaking only En glish fluently.
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  #912  
Old 04-30-2020, 07:50 PM
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I wonder how his Spanish is; as he spend his gap year in Chile if I'm not mistaken. That might have probably 'clouded' his French.
Nanny Maria is Spanish and is reportedly teaching the children the language. Maybe William and Catherine are picking it up along the way too. Catherine's French is much better than his so she at least has that - it's said that if you can become fairly fluent is a second language, the third, fourth etc. come much easier.
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  #913  
Old 04-30-2020, 07:53 PM
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He didn't spend a year in Chile - it was more like six weeks to two months. He also spent time with the army in Africa and did a number of other things during that gap year. He still holidayed with Charles and Harry - skiing and Balmoral and Sandringham as well as with friends - hunting in Spain for instance.
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  #914  
Old 04-30-2020, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
He didn't spend a year in Chile - it was more like six weeks to two months. He also spent time with the army in Africa and did a number of other things during that gap year. He still holidayed with Charles and Harry - skiing and Balmoral and Sandringham as well as with friends - hunting in Spain for instance.
Thanks for that clarification. I didn't remember the details; so 2 months at most and probably some time in Spain (but most likely speaking English if he went their with friends). That surely isn't enough time to learn the language. But maybe they are picking it up from their nanny indeed...
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  #915  
Old 04-30-2020, 11:03 PM
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One thing, and the most important, in learning language (that is not your native language) is continuous practice.

I learnt French in univ and I could say that I was passable (if not almost reached fluency) back then because I was in French community constantly. Four years without and it's like I never learnt French at all not mention my pronunciation (the fact that I learn German for the last two years might be one of the reason).

What I'm trying to say is, it's easier to find someone to converse in English with you in, say, Belgium or Netherland than French/Dutch in England. I would say he has better chance in Spanish (nanny Maria) or Welsh.

Just curious, why French? Considering its economic power, would it be better if he learns Chinese then? Or maybe Urdu or Malay (part or Commonwealth) if in his role as King he has to play "in depth" diplomatic role or do some negotiation where mastering non-English language is important?
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  #916  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:31 AM
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French is an official language of one of the countries he will be king of down the line. Chinese is not. His role is to represent the countries of the commonwealth when he becomes king. The official languages of the 16 realms are English and French (though some creole forms are officially recognized as well). This would be the reasoning why people would think he should learn French over something like Chinese or Arabic.

He is not more likely to use Welsh then French. Only about 20% of the people in Wales speak Welsh and that would commonly be their second tongue.

While continued use is yes helpful, continuing to keep up study of the language helps as well. William does not lack for tutoring or the time to work on it.
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  #917  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:35 AM
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If being 'an official language of one of the countries he will be king of down the line' is the criteria then he will have to learn Maori and Sign Language as well as they are both official languages in New Zealand. It wouldn't be right to argue for one language over another - either he is fluent in French AND Maori or neither to be fair to both the countries.
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  #918  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
If being 'an official language of one of the countries he will be king of down the line' is the criteria then he will have to learn Maori and Sign Language as well as they are both official languages in New Zealand. It wouldn't be right to argue for one language over another - either he is fluent in French AND Maori or neither to be fair to both the countries.
No one said he HAD to be.

Why not both then? Royals don't lack for money, time or tutors to learn new things. We expect doctors and other professionals to continue to learn and develop skills during their career. Why should a royal be any different? Heck do one of those on line training programs at night when the kids go to bed for a few hours and at least get a basic working knowledge with time. Not that they both could not actually dedicate some time with a tutor (once this lock down is over). Maori is not very widely spoken in NZ, even less so then Welsh is spoken, but it is official.

I would love to see a royal learn sign language. They spend so much time visiting hospitals and such, be great for them to be able to communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing patients they come in contact with. Great idea
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  #919  
Old 05-01-2020, 02:32 AM
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French was the traditional language of diplomacy, after the use of Latin died out, and was used at a lot of royal courts, so it's traditionally the language taught in schools here ... although I think there's been a shift towards other languages in recent years.


If we're talking about Commonwealth countries, rather than just countries over which William will be king, you could say that he should learn every one of the languages of India - about 20,000 :-) .
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  #920  
Old 05-01-2020, 02:47 AM
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As a reminder, we have the https://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...w-10538-4.html thread to discuss specifically what languages members of the British Royal Family can speak. Perhaps here we can concentrate on whether speaking a foreign language improves or enhances William's suitability to be king.
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