British Royal Family Members Never Use These Common Words

There are a lot of things commoners do that the British royal family cannot, and, of course, there is good reason for that. But even when speaking the same language, there are quite a few common words we use in our everyday lives that the royals can’t utter.

Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behavior author Kate Fox and royal etiquette expert Myka Meier have revealed 15 seemingly innocent words we use on a daily basis that you’ll never hear a royal say. Queen Elizabeth II considers No. 9 to be vulgar.

1. ‘Toilet’

Kate Middleton and Prince William

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge | Arthur Edwards-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The royals never use the word “toilet.” The place where they relieve themselves is called a “loo.”

The word “bathroom” is not acceptable either unless there is an actual bathtub inside. So, if a royal is in the powder room that would be referred to as the “lavatory.”

Next: The royals do not wear this. 

2. ‘Perfume’

Young woman buying perfume in a shop or store

It is a scent, after all. |

When most of us spray on a fragrance that we like on we call it “perfume” but that is not what the Windsors say. The fragrance they apply is simply a “scent.”

One scent Princess Diana wore often, including on her wedding day, was Quelques Fleurs. However, later in her life, she preferred the scent 24 Faubourg by Hermès.

Next: Contrary to popular belief, they don’t have “tea” time.

3. ‘Tea’

Prince William drinking tea

Prince William enjoys this beverage at supper time. | Eddie Mulholland-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Like many people, you may have thought that the royals enjoyed “afternoon” or “high tea,” but that’s not necessarily true. They do partake in the British tradition of having tea, they just don’t refer to it as such. Instead, they call their tea time “supper.”

When drinking the beverage, the royals know to always sip but never slurp their tea.

Next: This is also called “supper.”

4. ‘Dinner’

Princes Harry eats a burger while Prince William watches on during the IRB Rugby Aid Match between The Northern Hemisphere and The Southern Hemisphere at Twickenham Stadium on March 5, 2005 in Twickenham, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

That’s one way to take your supper on the go, Harry. | David Rogers/Getty Images

Another thing the British royal family doesn’t have is a “dinner.” For them, that meal is “supper.”

The only time the monarchy uses the word “dinner” is when they are talking about dining at a formal affair that requires invitations.

Next: The queen and her family do not sit on this. 

5. ‘Couch’

woman petting her yellow labrador on the couch

Somehow we doubt the queen allows her corgis on the sofa. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

When it comes to their furniture, they use a different word for that too. HRH and her relatives don’t sit on the “couch” but rather a “sofa.”

The word “settee” is not acceptable either.

Next: And in what room do they have sofas?

6. ‘Living room’

Queen Elizabeth II's 2012 Christmas Broadcast At Buckingham Palace

They still deck their sitting rooms out for the holidays. | John Stillwell/PA Wire

No, not a “living room” or “lounge.” The royals, of course, have plenty of rooms in the palaces, but the one where they all gather together — which most of us refer to as a “living room” or “family room” — they call “drawing rooms” and “sitting rooms.”

Next: One of the most famous Brits call herself this.

7. ‘Posh’

Victoria Beckham

We thought she was as ‘posh’ as they come! | Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

We have to admit this is a little surprising to us because it’s the stage name of one of our favorite Brits and friend to the royal family, Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice. But the word “posh” apparently isn’t spoken among the royals.

“The correct upper-class word is ‘smart,'” according to Fox. “In upper-middle and upper-class circles, ‘posh’ can only be used ironically, in a jokey tone, to show that you know it’s a low-class word.”

Wow, just don’t tell Posh Spice that.

Next: The royals call sweet after supper treats this. 

8. ‘Dessert’


Despite its pie-like appearance, this would still be called “pudding.” | iStock

The Windsors refer to that after-meal treat as “pudding,” not “dessert” or “sweet.”

So, no matter what sugary goodie they choose to have after supper, it’s always called “pudding.”

Next: The queen does not use this “vulgar” word. 

9. ‘Pregnant’

Kate Middleton in Sweden

Middleton is no doubt “in a family way” in this photo. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Because the queen has been around plenty of expectant royal mothers in her life, you would think she would be fine with the word “pregnant,” but she’s not.

She considers the word to be vulgar and therefore prefers the term “in a family way” when speaking about a woman with child.

Next: The royal kids do not play on this. 

10. ‘Patio’

Patio furniture on modern deck

We suspect their terrace is even more lovely than this one. | Martin Barraud/iStock/Getty Images

When the young royals play outside, they don’t do it on a “patio” but rather the “terrace.”

Therefore, when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children want to go outside for playtime, they are taken to the terrace.

Next: They use this term that Americans are familiar with.

11. ‘Function’

Queen Elizabeth II and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Dramatic Arts reception at Buckingham Palace on February 17, 2014 in London, England.

Every day is a party for these royal women. | David Crump – WPA Pool/Getty Images

The royals don’t attend anything called “functions.” The events they go to are referred to as a “party” — a term that’s popular with most Americans as well.

Next: They do this at those royal parties. 

12. ‘Cheers’

Prince William and Kate Middleton at Starbucks

A bit more than a “cheers” is in order here. | Andrew Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Think clinking glasses and saying “cheers” or “bottoms up” is the way the royals do things? Not so. They instead give a formal toast during their parties before knocking back their adult beverages.

Next: And they don’t have these. 

13. ‘Refreshments’

A woman holding tea

That is a much simpler way of describing things. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

“Refreshments” is not a word you’ll hear members of the British royal family say. When they are feeling thirsty or hungry, they refer to what they are getting as “food and drink.”

So, during an even,t they wouldn’t direct people to refreshments being served, they would just say “food and drink.”

Next: The word may sound proper but they avoid it. 

14. ‘Pardon’

Prince Harry (L) and fiancee Meghan Markle leave after their visit to Star Hub

This one might take some getting used to for Markle. | Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

You may think that “pardon” sounds like the most proper word a royal would use if they didn’t catch something someone said. But it turns out they don’t use “pardon” or “sorry.”

If they don’t hear someone, they will simply ask “what?” like many other people do.

Next: Finally, Princes William and Harry don’t call Charles “dad.”

15. ‘Dad’

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles

Can you imagine calling the queen “mummy”? | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

While most Brits call their parents simply “mum” or “dad,” the royals differ a bit on using that. They say “mummy” or “Pa.”

This was evident when Prince Charles publicly referred to Queen Elizabeth as his “mummy” during her Diamond Jubilee celebration in 2012. And when Prince Harry called his father “Pa” after he thanked him for walking his bride, Meghan Markle, down the aisle in 2018.

Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.

Read moreYou Won’t Believe This Dark Secret About the British Royal Family

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