Being part of the Royal Family comes with many responsibilities. Among those, speaking at least one other language besides English is mandatory, from the late Queen Elizabeth II to her great-grandchildren. Besides frequently learning some greetings in the language of the countries they travel to, many members have some deeper knowledge of quite a few languages and even rare dialects.
Her Majesty The Queen was fluent in French, as she learned it from a young age. Her childhood governess Marion Crawford wrote in the book The Little Princess that the Queen’s French teacher made her write “endless columns of verbs in her lessons”. Besides giving speeches in French several times, she was also heard conversing with Presidents and diplomats over the course of her reign.
Her son, now King Charles III is also fluent, while the Queen Consort Camilla, the late Prince Philip, Prince William, Prince Andrew and Princess Anne have some level of proficiency.
The late Prince Philip was of German descent, so he was fluent in the language, although he was rarely heard speaking it in public. Queen Elizabeth II did not speak it, but King Charles and Prince William have a good knowledge of it.
King Charles was the former Prince of Wales, a title traditionally given to the next Royal in line for the throne. Before his investiture in the function, his mother insisted he spent some time in Wales, so Charles attended the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth for a term in 1969. He studied Welsh history and the Welsh language and, at the same time, he received Welsh lessons from Dr Edward Millward so he could give his investiture speech in Welsh.
Although he was the Prince of Wales for 64 years, Charles admitted his language level was rusty at best. “I did my utmost to learn as much as I could but in a term it’s quite difficult, and I’m not as brilliant a linguist as I’d like to be”, the King disclosed in an interview. His son however has been preparing for a longer time, having started learning Welsh in 1999. Prince William also lived in Wales for a few years. During a speech from 2013, His Royal Highness admitted his pronunciation was not perfect, but he would keep working.
Prince William admitted during a Q&A session that he speaks a little Spanish, but it is the youngest members of the Royal Family who are reportedly already learning the language. Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are taking some lessons, as well as picking it up from their governess who is a native speaker.
Prince William spent some time travelling in Africa during his gap year. While there, he became fascinated with the culture and decided to teach himself some Swahili. He is not fluent, but has some basic knowledge of the language and during a visit to Tanzania in 2018 he promised president John Magufuli he will improve by the next time they meet.
While Prince Philip left Greece when he was just an infant, any knowledge of the language being lost over time, King Charles is a Hellenophile, as reported by euronews, and speaks almost fluent Greek.
7. Doric dialect
Many locals living close to Balmoral castle have reported Queen Elizabeth II was fluent in the Doric dialect, a local Scots variant spoken in the northeast of Scotland.