Is Meghan Markle’s British Accent Real or Fake?
In a two-part documentary focused on England’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and the royal family Meghan Markle can be heard speaking with a slight British accent. This left many wondering if it’s actually real and if it’s possible that she is losing her American accent.
Viewers picked up on the former actress’ British tone during the airing of Queen of the World, which premiered Sept. 25, 2018, on U.K.’s ITV. A clip of the duchess being reunited with her Givenchy wedding dress sent the internet into a frenzy questioning if she had taken voice coaching lessons or was just putting on a fake accent. Now, experts have weighed in.
The Duchess of Sussex shares her secret “something blue” from her wedding day. Witness special moments spent with the Royal family through the course of a historic year.#QueenOfTheWorld. Tuesday 9.15pm @ITV. pic.twitter.com/QWKPGzny9E
— ITV (@ITV) September 23, 2018
Because Markle has only been married to Prince Harry since May, many Twitter users believe she might have been pulling a Madonna and speaking in a different way just for the cameras. However, according to language expert Patti Wood, when people are in a relationship and spend most of their together they start to adopt things from one another including the way they talk.
“Even in brief phone calls with friends and family you may begin to subconsciously match and mirror your partner,” Wood explained. “When you love someone you often match and mirror their body language and paralanguage, (aspects of the voice like tone, tempo, accent, and speaking rate) when you are with them.”
Despite only joining the royal family a few months ago, the Duchess of Sussex has been living in London with Harry for some time now. Therefore, it is possible that she has picked up a slight accent of the people she’s been surrounded by on a daily basis. Plus, this isn’t the first time fans have heard the California native speak with a British tone since moving abroad.
During a public appearance in Cheshire, England, back in June fans and royal watchers were buzzing after a video surfaced online in which commenters claimed that the duchess sounded “very British” at certain points in the clip. But if Markle is slipping in and out of accents when she speaks, Jennifer Nycz, assistant professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, said that she doesn’t think the duchess is purposely trying to sound different.
“We value authenticity, and are suspicious of those who seem like they’re trying to be something they’re not,” Nycz told The Cut. “But much of the accent shifting we do is not necessarily intentional, at least not on any conscious level … All of us subtly shift our accents and ways of speaking depending on who we are talking to all the time — think about how you speak when you’re at home with your family versus at work.”
Although that makes sense, this likely won’t be the last time that Markle’s language is critiqued.
American audiences will have a chance to watch the full documentary for themselves when Queen of the World airs on HBO in October.
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