by Duminy Squints
The Queen speaks. Not often. In the course of her regular daily duties the members of the public do not tend to get more than a “Piss off, just get Helen Mirren to pretend to be me again!” However, every now and then Her Majesty does deign to feed us some cosy platitudes or other about how hard it is for her and her family being needlessly wealthy and inexplicably respected. But we are not reviewing the content, so much as the delivery.
The Queen speaks with what one would usually call Received Pronunciation, called this because like the status and money of the royals who use it, it is received without effort or merit. However, in her old age she has tended to slip and stumble over words a bit, as is to be expected when you’re a 900 year old lizard person.
In the department of the ‘Ch’ sound, as in ‘ch’air, ‘Ch’aring Cross or not ‘ch’aritably donating your excess wealth to the needy, she falters a little I feel. The softness of the sound makes it sound more like a ‘Sh’ so when her royal highness says ‘chair’ it sounds more like ‘Cher’ which can be amusing but to elocution linguists such as myself is a little grating.
Of course her vowels sound like they have been drizzled indulgently into her mouth off the back of a silver spoon causing that typical pronunciation problem of sounding like a dense posho.
Here is a sentence;
“Yes, one would very much like to sit in one’s chair.”
Here is how the Queen would say it;
“Earhs, wahn wud vereh mush like to sit in wahns Cher.”
Here is where RP falls down, you see. If you take it too far you just sound like you’ve got some sort of inherited problem like inbreeding depression, Prince Philip’s chronic stupidity or Princess Diana’s persistent posthumous popularity.
One can only hope that if we have to have these people printed on our bank notes for eternity they can modernise and start speaking like normal people to better integrate with a society increasingly falling upon the cult of celebrity for meaning in their otherwise bland, futile lives. Or else we may very soon find our royal family replaced with a vapid collection of famous for being famous hacks who do nothing but post photographs of themselves and their children and somehow retain popularity.