It’s a fact that every member of the Royal family has to learn at least one other language throughout their lives. It’s a royal requirement, but which languages did learn Queen Elizabeth II to speak?
While some royal family members know multiple languages, Queen Elizabeth II had opted only to learn two. These are, of course, English and French. While the Queen knows phrases and words in lots of languages, these are the only two languages she speaks fluently. The Queen doesn’t speak German.
To find out more about the Queen’s linguistic abilities, what some of the other Royal family members can speak, and more, keep on scrolling down.
She Speaks What She Must
Of course, the Queen is capable of speaking fluent English, and with her posh accent that’s famous around the world, many refer to her language as ‘The Queen’s English.’ This makes sense since the Queen was born and raised at home in England.
Did you know, when a King is on the throne, in the same position the Queen is in now, then their English is referred to as ‘The King’s English’? However, in line with the royal requirements, the Queen also speaks fluent French.
According to an Express article, the Queen was likely to have learned French while she was a child, since her total and governess, Marion Crawford, was French. This makes sense since France is the neighboring country to England, and she has visited there quite often throughout her life, six times on official state visits.
She actually gave a speech in full French at the French State Banquet back in 2014!
Watch the 27-second mark where she moves from English to French, and you see Hollande ears immediately pick up when the Queen starts speaking very professional-sounding French. How she moves from English to French and back again is nothing short of graceful.
Camille Chevalier-Karfi, a linguist expert who watched this speech, said that ‘The Queen’s reading skills were quite excellent’ and while ‘you could feel she was quite tense,’ she was impressed by the quality of her French. There was ‘no stuttering, pour la reine,’ which means ‘for the Queen.’
However, this isn’t the only time she’s flexed her French tongue, and she has genuinely showcased her ability to speak French.
Here, the Queen speaks in Quebec, Canada. Yes, you could argue that she’s reading from cards that make it easier. Still, many natives and language experts have agreed that her pronunciation is incredible—a true testament to her abilities to speak French.
There is also a more recent time, however, where the Queen showcases that she can also indeed engage in off-the-cuff conversations. In 2012, this video displays her clear French-speaking abilities to President Francois Hollande.
Sure, they were just chatting small talk, something about the weather and the jet streams bringing lousy weather across the Atlantic, but it’s obvious she’s holding her own.
A Family of Multi-Linguists
While the Queen herself only speaks English and French fluently, there’s no denying that she’s picked up words and phrases throughout her life in other languages. However, since she doesn’t speak the languages fluently, these aren’t recorded.
Nevertheless, the chances are she wouldn’t need to speak other languages while traveling around since the rest of her immediate family are educated and fluent in dozens of languages, some of which you’re definitely not going to expect.
For example, Prince Phillip spent his childhood years learning German, as did Prince Charles (The Queen’s son), and Prince William (The Queen’s grandson). Prince Charles and Prince William have also been known to speak Welsh from time to time, but no sources confirm how fluent they are in it.
The youngest of the Royal family, as per royal requirements, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, are already starting to learn their languages and have chosen Spanish since their nanny, Maria Turrion-Borrallo is native to the country. It sounds like they’re following in their great-grandmother’s footsteps!
Some of the more surprising languages you probably wouldn’t expect are Prince William’s ability to speak Swahili, a native language from the African Great Lakes, Prince Michael, and his wife’s ability to speak Russian, and even Megan Markle’s ability to speak Tagalog. Tagalog is the Philippine language, which she was heard speaking on a visit to Edinburgh with her husband, Prince Harry.
It’s actually amazing to think that every Royal family member takes time to learn other languages and such a diverse range. Then again, when you think about how often they travel and where they attend events all over the world, as well as building up relationships with other countries, then it only makes sense.