How Many Languages Does the Royal Family Speak?

While it’s not part of the queen’s strict protocol, many members of the royal family learned how to speak a foreign language at a young age. And, some of them are even multilingual with knowledge of around five foreign languages. How many languages does the royal family speak? Keep reading to find out.

How many languages does the royal family speak?

The Royal Family
The Royal Family speaks multiple languages. | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The royal family is chock full of linguists with bilingual and multilingual abilities. And, although many of them only speak one language, there are few that are fluent in (or at least familiar with) a handful of others. While no one knows for sure how many foreign languages the royal family speaks, the majority consensus is around eight.

Find out what foreign languages the royal family speaks — plus which one they are mostly fluent in — ahead.

What foreign languages does the royal family speak?

Even for a family as big as the royal family, eight foreign languages is quite impressive, especially since only a few members know more than one or two. Here are the foreign languages spoken in the royal family.

French: This is a big one for the royal family. Considered the one foreign languages the royal family is most fluent in, some of its most prominent members — including Queen Elizabeth herself — are fluent in French. In addition to Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Prince William also speak French. On top of that, Kate Middleton knows the language and Meghan Markle might speak and understand a little, too.

German: German isn’t as widely spoken in the royal family, but there is fluency in the foreign language. According to reports, Prince Philip grew up in a house that spoke English, French, and German, which helped him become fluent in the language. It’s unclear who else can speak the language in the royal family, but some members might know a few words or phrases here and there.

Welsh: Learning Welsh is a big part of training to become Prince of Wales. Ahead of his official crowning, Prince Charles learned Welsh at University College of Wales in Aberystwyth. Although he became Prince of Wales in 1958, his investiture didn’t take place until July 1969. In order to better prepare for his role, the queen’s eldest son spent a term at the Welsh university during his second year to learn the language as well as the country’s history. On the day of his official crowning, Prince Charles gave two speeches, one in English and one in Welsh.

To prepare his son, Prince William for his future Prince of Wales role, Prince Charles pushed the Duke of Cambridge to begin lessons at an early age. Apparently, Prince William started learning Welsh at Eton in 1999. At that time, the Prince of Wales grew anxious about his son’s future and wanted him to become fluent in Welsh before his investiture.

Gaelic: Gaelic is another language spoken in the royal family. It’s unclear whether they know the Scottish or Irish style, but both Prince Charles and Prince William can speak a little bit.

Swahili: Prince William also speaks a little Swahili. The Duke of Cambridge taught himself the language and has delivered a speech in the language while on a royal tour of Tanzania.

Spanish: Prince George and Princess Charlotte are already learning their first foreign language, Spanish. While it’s not as popular in the royal family, Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Prince William might also know some of the language, though that has yet to be confirmed.

Russian: Some royals also speak a little Russian. Prince Michael of Kent and his wife, Princess Michael both speak and understand the language.

Tagalog: The language of the Philippines has also made its way out of a royal family member’s mouth. While visiting Edinburgh with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle said “Salamat Po,” which means “thank you” in Tagalog.

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