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Author Topic: Royals and Languages  (Read 2540 times)
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leogirl
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« on: February 26, 2015, 10:12:49 pm »

I was wondering which languages are known by royals from different countries. Does anyone have a list?  flower
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Rosella
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 12:26:48 am »

Do you mean every single royal, leogirl or just monarchs and spouses and adult heirs and their husbands/wives? If it's every royal, some members are still very young. You could compile a list. Most of the European Royals speak at least two languages beside their own. For instance Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden speaks English and German besides Swedish. I think all adult European royals and many Asian ones speak English as a second language.
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leogirl
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 12:32:34 am »

I'm mostly interested in the adult royals. I know there are a lot of royals, but the most talked about ones would be good to know. Sort of an inspiration for aspiring polyglots. I know there used to be a thread about the Grimaldis and languages, but it seems to be gone now.
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Rosella
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 01:16:24 am »

Felipe of Spain can speak Spanish, some Catalan (dialect) French, English, some Greek (due to his mother.) Letizia has been having a lot of English lessons as she felt her English wasn't up to standard, and Spanish of course. The heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor, had an English nanny and can speak English very well. She is studying several languages, including Manderin at school.

Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands can speak, besides Dutch, English, Spanish and German. Maxima speaks Spanish, English, French and Dutch.

Albert of Monaco speaks French, English, German and Italian. Charlene speaks English and is trying hard with her French. Albert used to stammer as a child when he had to speak French to his father.
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Rosella
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2015, 01:35:56 am »

Queen Margrethe of Denmark speaks Danish, some Faroese, excellent French and  English, and Swedish and German. Her consort, Prince Henrik can speak French, Danish (apparently with a thick accent) English, and because of his family background, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark speaks Danish, fluent French, and English and German. His wife Mary speaks English and Danish (at which she is apparently not fluent) and some French.
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Countess of Holland
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2015, 04:32:50 pm »

The Dutch King also speaks French and Italian. Although I doubt he will speak French with president Hollande of France or Italian with PM Mateo in an official capacity, both languages are probably good enough for small talk.

French is a mandatory subject at highschool for four years for Dutch students of highschools and the King must have picked up plenty of Italian during his numerous vacations in Italy. Princess Beatrix is fluent in Italian and IIRC it was Prince Constantijn who once said that his parents insisted that the three sons were able to speak at least 'tourist Italian'.
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2015, 10:08:42 pm »

I sense a distinct lack of anyone from the BRF in this thread
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2015, 11:55:49 pm »

Queen Elizabeth speaks English and French. Philip, because of his background, can speak English, fluent French and German and some Greek.

Prince Charles can speak English, French, German and a little Welsh. He is taking lessons in Arabic.
Camilla can speak English and French.
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Rosella
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2015, 12:39:03 am »

King Harald of Norway speaks Norwegian and fluent English and has knowledge of the Sami language spoken by many Norwegians. His wife, Queen Sonja speaks Norwegian and fluent English and French.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit both speak Norwegian and English. English is a compulsory subject in Norwegian High schools. Haakon would also have spoken it at home as his parents often visit England.
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Rosella
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 01:55:28 am »

It's very difficult to get a handle on what foreign languages William, Kate and Harry speak, as information is sparse. William speaks English, French with an English accent, Spanish (he took it at Eton, and spent a gap year in Chile.) He can speak some Welsh and some Swahili.

Kate had to take one modern foreign language at Marlborough. She can speak French, as she did so in Canada. There are some sources that say she can speak some Italian, because she spent part of a gap year in Italy.

Harry studied French at Eton. He would have been given rudimentary instruction in Farsi (Afghani phrases) before he served there. He must know some Portugese phrases as he was heard speaking them on his tour of Brazil.
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Rosella
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2015, 02:06:45 am »

Prince Michael of Kent can speak fluent Russian and French. He can also speak German and Italian. His wife Princess Michael (Princess Pushy) is fluent in French and German.
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meememe
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2015, 11:33:21 pm »

The older British royals would have studied French at school as it was compulsory for many years but in more recent years the change has been to a 'modern' language and that doesn't have to be all that much. My understanding, from talking to teachers who have taught there, is that it is compulsory for two years but many schools make it compulsory to study one language for four years.

However, even if you study a language at school if you don't practice it then you lose it and as they have English it is often the case that when travelling overseas people immediately want to speak in English - to practise their own English, making it harder for English speakers to practise their own language skills. It can be done e.g. last year I spent a week in French and wanted to practise my 'school girl' French which is very, very rusty so whenever I went into a shop, and they weren't busy, I would ask them if I could try to say what I wanted to say in French and most of the time they were happy to help - so we were taking two or three times the length of time we should have taken to transact the business but both sides were able to practise their language skills.

I suspect though, that for the BRF, foreigners simply go straight into English rather than even giving them the chance - certainly publicly - privately they may be able to get the chance.

I do hope that Maria is teaching George Spanish so that he grows up totally bilingual as happened to royals in the past.
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Rosella
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2015, 12:47:20 am »

I agree. My own experiences when travelling in Europe is that people are very keen to engage with you...in English! I have sometimes had to beg my hosts and their visitors to speak in their own language. It's one of the great disadvantages of speaking an international language. This would certainly be even more so for members of the BRF when they travel overseas and  when other royals come to England, perhaps not so much with other foreign Heads of State.

I'm sure the Queen brushes up her French when she needs to, but I have long said that it would be great if William's children were sent for several years to an international boarding school in Europe where they could really learn a couple of European languages and retain them.
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Rosella
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2015, 02:40:36 am »

King Carl Gustav of Sweden is said to speak German and English as well as Swedish. His wife, Queen Silvia, is very accomplished as she was a translator. She speaks German, Portugese, French, Spanish and English as well as Swedish.

Crown Princess Victoria speaks English, French and German as well as Swedish. Prince Daniel, her husband, has received lessons in French, German and English. Little Princess Estelle, their daughter has a nanny who speaks English and Swedish so she is already bi-lingual. (They advertised for a nanny with a knowledge of English, which is an excellent idea, IMO.)
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Rosella
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2015, 03:03:45 am »

King Carl Gustav's mother, Princess Sibylla,  was German but she spoke in English to her husband. Similarly, Queen Silvia and Carl Gustav spoke in English to each other before she learned Swedish.
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FrederickLouis
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2019, 10:15:32 pm »

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg speaks Luxembourgish, French, German, Spanish, and English.
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