Most Members of the Royal Family Are Fluent in This Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language isn’t exactly a royal rule, but it is highly encouraged, given how much they travel and meet with world leaders. In the royal family, greeting a president, prime minister, or diplomat in their native language is considered highly respectful and something most members of the royal family try to achieve. And while some have mastered multiple languages, the royal family (as a whole) is only fluent in one.

The Royal Family
The Royal Family | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

What foreign language does the royal family speak?

At an individual level, the royal family can speak over eight foreign languages with knowledge of various words and phrases in other languages such as Arabic and Tagalog, the language of the Philippines. However, many of them are fluent — or mostly fluent — in just one foreign language. What languages does the royal family speak? Many members, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Prince William are fluent in French.

According to Express, Queen Elizabeth likely learned French as a young child from her tutor and governess, Marion Crawford. When visiting France, the queen always speaks the language. She even delivered a speech in French at a State Banquet in 2014!

Prince Philip also grew up speaking French. His family spoke three languages: English, French, and German, making him one of the few multilingual members of the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip passed their knowledge of French onto their four children, too. Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward all speak French and are believed to be fluent in the foreign language.

Like his father (who can speak around five foreign languages), Prince William is quite the linguist. The Duke of Cambridge is fluent in French among other foreign languages. Prince Harry learned French in school but he recently admitted to forgetting it.

The duchesses also speak and understand French. However, Kate Middleton admits she isn’t the most experiences linguist and hopes her children will be better. According to her royal family biography, Meghan Markle studied French in school. She also lived in Canada, a bilingual country, where a variation of French (Québécois) is spoken.

German

As we mentioned above, Prince Philip grew up in a family that spoke English, French, and German. As a result, the Duke of Edinburgh is fluent in German.

Welsh

Learning Welsh is an important part of the Prince of Wales’ training. Prince Charles learned the language before his investiture. He also encouraged his eldest son and future Prince of Wales, Prince William to learn the language from a young age.

Gaelic

Prince Charles and Prince William can also speak a little Gaelic. However, it’s unclear whether or not they are more familiar with the Irish or Scottish variation.

Spanish

Like some of her in-laws, Meghan Markle is multi-lingual. According to her royal family biography, she learned Spanish while interning at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina during her college years. Prince George and Princess Charlotte are also learning Spanish.

Swahili

Africa holds a special place in many royals’ hearts. So much so that some have even tried to learn Swahili. Prince William allegedly taught himself the foreign language after graduating from university.

Russian

Some members of the royal family can also speak a little Russian. According to reports, Prince Michael of Kent and his wife, Princess Michael speak Russian to each other.

Other foreign languages

While Prince Harry might not remember his French and wishes he could speak German, the prince has tried his hand at a number of foreign languages, including Arabic. He’s no expert and used cards to help him deliver a speech at a charity dinner, but he tried!

During his trip to New Zealand last year, he delivered a speech in six languages (with the help of some notes). In the speech, he spoke Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean, Cook Islands Maori, Maori, noting “this is definitely the first time I’ve spoken most of those languages, so I apologize if my accent wasn’t any good.”

Meghan Markle allegedly knows a little Tagalog, the language of the Philippines. While visiting Edinburgh last year, she was overheard saying “Salamat Po,” which means “thank you.”


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