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The Royal Family Is Required to Know More Than One Language

Margaret Minnicks is an online writer who writes about the royal family.


When many people were in high school, a foreign language was an elective. Some students took French, Spanish, or German. In college, they had the same choices with more added such as Latin, Russian and others.

In seminary, students might be required to study Hebrew and Greek. That's because the original language of the Old Testament was Hebrew. The original language of the New Testament was Greek.

Members of the royal family are required to know more than one language, and most of them know more than one. Even the young children know some languages other than English.


Charles, the Prince of Wales, knows more languages than the other members of the family. The oldest son of Queen Elizabeth and next in line to the throne knows four languages while Prince Harry is the only member of the immediate family who knows only English.

Below is a chart indicating what languages Prince Charles knows along with a list of languages other members of the family know. Notice that Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex is the exception. He knows only one language. However, in his travels to foreign countries, he has probably picked up a few words, especially those pertaining to greetings and well-wishing.


Queen Elizabeth

English, French

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

English, French, German

Charles, Prince of Wales

English, French, German, passable Welsh

Camila, Duchess of Cornwall

English, French

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

English, French, Welsh

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

English, French

Prince George

English, learned to count in Spanish when he was four years old

Princess Charlotte

English, knows Spanish words she picked up from her nanny

Prince Louis


Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

Only English

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex

English, Spanish, knows greetings in other languages

As you can see from the above chart, most members of the immediate royal family know French. That particular language is the most common foreign language taught at schools in the United Kingdom.

The queen and many of the others speak fluent French. Knowing French comes in handy because Queen Elizabeth's menus are always written in French. Over the years, she has become familiar with some German words as well as some Italian, Spanish, and Irish words. However, she knows very little of those languages.

Prince Charles knows Welsh because he is the Prince of Wales. Prince William learned the language in preparation to become Prince of Wales someday.

Prince Philip and Prince Charles also speak German because Prince Philip is of German descent.

No one knows for sure why Prince Harry speaks only English. What is known is that his education suffered after his mother's death. Even without speaking other languages, he travels a great deal to countries where he is well respected and loved. His lack of knowledge of a foreign language has not significantly hindered him in any way.

Meghan Markle, the newest member of the royal family, was reportedly heard speaking some Filipino with a member of the public while in Edinburgh.

Prince William's Toddlers Know Words in Spanish

When Princess Charlotte was only two years old, she had learned some words in a second language. Her nanny Maria Turrion Borralo is a native of Spain. The toddler reportedly has picked up some words from Borralo just as her older brother Prince George has also done. Prince George had learned to count to 10 in Spanish by the time he was only four years old.

Prince George at age 5, and Princess Charlotte at age 3.

Prince George at age 5, and Princess Charlotte at age 3.

The Duchess of Cambridge once reported that her two older children are very much interested in Spanish. When they are older, they will probably learn French in school.

Many studies have shown that the best time to learn a new language is during childhood.

Greetings in foreign languages

Greetings in foreign languages


Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 24, 2019:

With the passing of Arch Duke Jean of Luxemberg, our Queen becomes the most senior Royal of European nobility.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on March 29, 2019:

The most recent addition to the Royal Family namely Her Highness the Duchess of Sussex most probably has introduced an 'American idiom' at least privately of course.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 18, 2019:

Ian, you are right. Most high school students take at least one foreign language. I took French in high school and Spanish in college. In seminary, I took Greek and Hebrew.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on March 18, 2019:

Many of us with a High School education studied a foreign language for a few years. Diplomacy would dictate some knowledge of other languages would be a plus in the case of our Royal Family.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on February 07, 2019:

Today marks 67 years we have been ruled by the Queen.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on January 30, 2019:


Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 15, 2018:

There still is surviving Royalty in Greece but they wield no power.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on December 14, 2018:

This article caused me to do some research on Prince Phillip, and I'm surprised. I thought he actually grew up in Greece, so I was wondering why he didn't speak Greek. The way the American articles read when I was a teenager didn't really go into his family's banishment and that he grew up in Northern Europe. Anyway, he has my respect and so does the Queen.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 11, 2018:

I'll wager The Queen has a working knowledge of the Gaelic tongues as well.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 10, 2018:

I am anticipating the annual Queen's Christmas speech with much joyous glee. Always the highlite of my holiday.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 08, 2018:

Yes. H.R.H. The Prince Charles was required to learn to speak Welsh as a prerequisite for being inducted into the realm as Prince of Wales.

More to follow.