What Languages Do The Royals Speak?


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Somebody found one! Have a cookie. Danke!

I wonder if that "Prince Philip speaking German" part is a new addition to the title, or just why this was so hard to dig up...? Ah, wait, I see it was only uploaded on the 9th. That would do it.

It seems that the whole video was only recently added. i found the link in a twitter discussion about this video where he is speaking French:
 
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Somebody found one! Have a cookie. Danke!

I wonder if that "Prince Philip speaking German" part is a new addition to the title, or just why this was so hard to dig up...? Ah, wait, I see it was only uploaded on the 9th. That would do it.


She searched in German (Prinz Philip spricht Deutsch). That was the trick apparently !
 
It seems that the whole video was only recently added. i found the link in a twitter discussion about this video where he ist speaking French:

:D His French is great but his accent definitely isn't any kind of native. It's interesting how his demeanor doesn't change regardless of language, unlike many other people. He speaks (at least) three languages the exact same way.

Knowing all these languages and being able to use them so easily is very good for your brain and probably helped keep him sharp his whole life. I am sad that he had to die for us to be able to view these again. :sad:
 
Let's stay on topic.

Posts that have nothing to do with the subject of this thread, Languages that Royals Speak have been deleted off topic.
 
Here is King Harald of Norway speaking English in two very different accents!
(The American I assume he acquired as a child in the US in the forties [...and there must be quite a story about from who, and it's not getting covered on Atlantic Crossing]. The British was presumably taught to him?)

(Sorry, I can't be the only NA-English speaker who breaks out laughing every time he says "historical", right? More like hysterical! 🤣)
 
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This is btw a video of Prince Charles speaking german. He might read from a paper, but you have to have a certain knowledge of a language to do so quite fluently. You can hear he's a native english speaker, but you can also hear that its not his first time speaking german.
 
yes I think that Charles speaks pretty good French and learned German, but problaby doesn't use it so much....
 

This is btw a video of Prince Charles speaking german. He might read from a paper, but you have to have a certain knowledge of a language to do so quite fluently. You can hear he's a native english speaker, but you can also hear that its not his first time speaking german.

Well, he has certainly been taught German, that's pretty clear to my ears.
Probably doesn't speak German very often though.

You can read from a piece of paper in another language, but unless you have been taught speaking it, your pronunciation will be way off. - How could it be otherwise?
 
QMII speaking French, or perhaps reading a speech live in French.
 
British Royals First Language

"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.
 
"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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"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.

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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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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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.
 
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/ser/arc/vll/21618144.html
 
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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/ser/arc/vll/21618147.html
 
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Not what but how:
This is where "George V sounded like an ordinary guy" comes from. Also, *spoiler alert*. :lol:
 
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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/ser/arc/vll/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...
 
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.

 
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.
 
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.

Well, Paul's mother Queen Sophie was German, despite being the daughter of "the Englishwoman" Empress Friedrich. I guess it's not surprising he picked it up despite all the Greek-Danish-Russian-English floating around?
 
Well, Paul's mother Queen Sophie was German, despite being the daughter of "the Englishwoman" Empress Friedrich. I guess it's not surprising he picked it up despite all the Greek-Danish-Russian-English floating around?
Paul's grandparents King George & Queen Olga spoke German with each other, English with their children who spoke Greek amongst themselves and replied their parents in that language. His parents King Constantine & Queen Sophia mainly spoke English with each other and with their children so the family was very multilingual something that has continued with their children. Queen Sofia is said to speak English with her children and to consider it her mother tongue.
 
Paul's grandparents King George & Queen Olga spoke German with each other, English with their children who spoke Greek amongst themselves and replied their parents in that language. His parents King Constantine & Queen Sophia mainly spoke English with each other and with their children so the family was very multilingual something that has continued with their children. Queen Sofia is said to speak English with her children and to consider it her mother tongue.

I think it's on record that Andrea was the only one of George and Olga's children who flatly insisted on speaking Greek to them, but it never seems to explicitly state what they spoke back or what his siblings used.

The fact that Philip couldn't speak it (while fluently keeping up the polyglot tradition) tells you a lot about what happened to his dad and their family. :sad:
 
I think it's on record that Andrea was the only one of George and Olga's children who flatly insisted on speaking Greek to them, but it never seems to explicitly state what they spoke back or what his siblings used.



The fact that Philip couldn't speak it (while fluently keeping up the polyglot tradition) tells you a lot about what happened to his dad and their family. :sad:
I've read that they spoke Greek amongst themselves. I've also read that grandchildren of the daughters of Prince Nicholas remember hearing them always speaking a Russian flavoured Greek with each other so the spin that the family couldn't speak the language aren't true. Naturally, as you say, the frequent exiles would have affected the languages spoken by the family.
 
A funny thing about Princess Marina was that she prayed in English even as a child. Her grandmother Queen Olga once asked her why she didn't pray in Greek and got the reply that - "I've arranged it all with God. I told him I liked to talk to Him in English best, and He said," Please yourself, Marina. All languages are the same to me.""
 
Queen Berengaria, the spouse of King Richard I of England, is sometimes described as a Basque. However, there is no evidence that she spoke the Basque language. Her mother tongue was possibly Castilian or Romance (Aragonese-Navarrese).
 
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