Royal Family: Expert calls for referendum on monarchy future
The Queen has established herself as a global presence during her long reign, with strong international diplomatic ties. She has met successive US presidents and a selection of other foreign dignitaries and has brought the UK closer to its network of allies in the Commonwealth. All of this has established her as a “soft power”, evident in her language skill.
What languages does Queen Elizabeth II speak?
Aside from English, the Queen is allegedly proficient in one other language, French.
The bilingual monarch started learning the language in childhood, according to her former tutor.
Her governess Marion Crawford wrote about her rebelling “against authority” while a mademoiselle taught her French as a child.
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She said her teacher made her “write out endless columns of verbs” in her lessons.
Public appearances the Queen has made with French officials have also drawn praise.
French publication The Local asked one expert about her opinion on the Queen’s conduct during her fifth French State Visit in 2014.
The visit saw her switch to French during a speech alongside former President Francois Hollande, demonstrating language and reading ability.
Camille Chevalier-Karfis, a French language expert, said she had “excellent” skill.
She said: “Her reading skills were excellent – both pronunciation and rhythm were very good, but you could feel she was quite tense.
“I was impressed by the quality of her French (yet, I bet she could read a speech in Chinese if need be…). No stuttering pour la reine.”
The Local showed Ms Chevalier-Karfis another clip with Mr Hollande in which they had a more casual conversation.
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She said the Queen showed “quite basic French” when speaking about her husband to the then-president.
She added: “So, with these clips it’s quite hard for me to say the level of French the Queen speaks.
“She seems to be understanding basic conversation and can read a speech perfectly, but I don’t know how would she manage a whole conversation or watching a movie in French.”
While the Queen has some proficiency in French, her family has a well-established foreign lineage.
Windsor is a thoroughly British name, but the modern royal’s aren’t English by origin.
They owe their existence to German Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, whose inclusion in the royal lineage established the Saxe Coburg Gotha name.
Although royals tend not to take surnames, they publicly remained Saxe-Coburg Gotha until 1918.
Then, German Gotha bombers forced George V to drop the German name and adopt the Windsor moniker.
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