Living like royalty is no easy task. Besides courtesies and fancy hats, the upper echelons of British society adopt a very specific vocabulary — a secret code, if you will. A slip of the tongue can instantly reveal some not-so-noble origins, according to Kate Fox, a social anthropologist and author of Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behavior.
Fox studied the ins and outs of British elites to reveal a particular set of quirks, with a few phrases standing out as dead giveaways. As a ruling class, the House of Windsor likely follows those implicit guidelines to a T.
When it’s time to go, head to the “lavatory,” advises royal etiquette expert Myka Meier. The Duchess would never excuse herself to the “toilet,” “bathroom” or even “ladies.”
If Prince William missed what you said, he’d interject with a “what?” Words such as “sorry” and “pardon” don’t see much use among the upper class, no matter how polite they sound.
Queen Elizabeth can spend a lazy day on the “sofa,” but HRH wouldn’t be caught dead on a “settee” or “couch.”
4. Living Room
As for rooms with a sofa, Buckingham Palace likely includes “drawing rooms” and “sitting rooms,” but not “lounges,” “dens” or comfy, ol’ “living rooms.”
Your average Brit calls their parents “mum” and “dad.” But like any self-respecting royal, Prince Charles referred to the Queen as “Mummy” during her Diamond Jubilee celebration, the Daily Mail reports. That makes Prince Philip “Daddy,” of course.
Diana, Princess of Wales, loved to wear a signature “scent” (Quelques Fleurs, to be exact) but she didn’t dab on “perfume.”
If Prince George and Princess Charlotte want to go outside, their parents would take them to the “terrace,” not a “patio.”
If learning all of these subtleties makes you feel “posh,” stop right there. “The correct upper-class word is ‘smart,’” Fox says. “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.” Righttt, we totally knew that.