The idea of meeting a member of the royal family is a daunting one. With strict protocols in place and an emphasis on the correct etiquette, it’s hard to know what the right thing to say is – and, it turns out, there are some words best avoided if you are speaking to the Queen or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Social anthropologist Kate Fox, author of Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour, has studied the linguistic quirks of the upper classes, and identified a list of verbal do's and don'ts when speaking to a royal. Let's take a look…
1. 'Pardon'. As children, we were taught that 'pardon' was the politest response if we'd misheard someone. Not so in royal circles. Instead they will simply say 'sorry?' or 'what?' if they wish the speaker to repeat themselves.
2. 'Posh'. It's a word that most of us would use to describe the upper classes, but the royal themselves would never opt to say 'posh'. Instead, they would use the word 'smart'. According to Kate, 'posh' would only ever be used "ironically, in a jokey tone, to show that you know it's a low-class word".
3. 'Perfume'. Female members of the royal household, including the Queen, Kate and Duchess Camilla, never wear perfume. Instead they spritz on a favoured 'scent'.
4. 'Tea'. Never refer to your evening meal as 'tea'. At the palace, the royals sit down at the end of the day to their 'dinner' or 'supper'.
5. 'Lounge'. Buckingham Palace has a huge number of rooms – but you won't find a single 'lounge'. Instead, the Windsors relax in a 'sitting room' or a 'drawing room'. As a side note, 'sofa' is apparently the appropriate term for a 'settee' or a 'couch'.
6. 'Toilet'. The word 'toilet' is also never used. 'Lavatory' or 'loo' are the preferred terms. According to Kate, historically the royals avoided using 'toilet' because of its French origins.