The Queen’s Speech

Say what you like about Queen Elizabeth II, she has the poshest accent in the British Isles. By far. No one comes close. Her own family sound like right gor-blimeys compared to her. No one on Downton Abbey can hold a candle to the Queen’s accent. I even venture to suggest that it is not possible to speak posher than the Queen: there is no possible world in which someone speaks posher than her. For this reason alone she deserves to be the Queen of England. There are absolutely no concessions to modern demotic; not even a whiff of South London. It is the platonic form of a posh English accent. When she is gone that accent will be extinct. Thankfully, we will have recordings of it. The last person I can remember in her linguistic class was Bertrand Russell. I don’t think they ever met but if they did they would surely think: “At last someone who speaks proper”. God save the Queen’s accent!

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17 responses to “The Queen’s Speech”

  1. Kyle Foley says:

    I’m a big fan of the British accent. I’ll grant your main thesis but let’s have a debate as to who has the 2nd most posh accent. I’m going to go with this woman

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkOIw7vAZCQ

    Emily Blunt comes in a close second.

  2. Kyle Foley says:

    What about Emily Blunt’s?

    • Emily has a very pleasant voice and I have nothing to criticize, but it isn’t posh. It’s educated middle class, not aristocrat.

      The American “a” sound has too much “e” in it, and sometimes “i” as well.

  3. Kyle Foley says:

    Also, about the American accents, I have always found the pronunciation of the ‘a’ in ‘cat’ and ‘mat’ to be a real strike against us (us does not refer to you of course). It’s simply a very grating sound and really ruins the accent.

  4. Rick Padua says:

    Kenneth Clark was pretty good in spite of the Scots background. He pretty much distilled what Nancy Mitford meant by U. And he had those dreadful malformed teeth which he displayed with genuine aristo insouciance. I can never forget his smirking riff out of Freud on Millet’s “Peasant with a Wheelbarrow.” His son the remarkable Alan of course was raised sans non-U libidinal constraints.

    • Yes, Kenneth Clark was the real thing, the complete package. Helluva guy. Accent just a little south of the Queen, dentally unreconstructed, charmingly offensive.

    • He sounds as if he has had elocution lessons, but the Queen sounds as if no elocution lessons could ever cure her of her accent–she was talking that way from birth.

  5. Rick Padua says:

    Sadly HM could never say anything like “I welcome their hatred” in a plummy yet world-embracing Hudson Valley gentry-cum Groton School accent like FDR’s … or in any accent for that matter. Undoubtedly she couldn’t even think it.

    • Rick Padua says:

      Something I miss from you is commentary on South Florida. Forget U of M. You live in one of the most interesting and complex metropolitan areas on the planet. An ethnic and cultural mix of rednecks out of the Old Confederacy, Jews and divers emigres from the US north, American blacks, Cubans, Haitians, Jamaicans, Bahamians and other West Indians collectively speaking at least three languages, varied and possibly threatening South Americans. You have plenty of time to observe what’s going on around you. It can’t be uninteresting. So observe for us. Analytically. It might be therapeutic for everyone.

      • You are quite right: I am very fond of South Florida, especially Miami. I moved to UM to live in Miami; I don’t live in Miami because I wanted to be at UM. That’s why I have stayed in Miami, despite my distaste for UM.

    • It is of course important to be hated by all the right people.

  6. David Gordon says:

    My late friend, Father James Sadowsky, S.J., who taught logic at Fordham, often used to praise Queen Elizabeth for the clear way she articulated vowels.

  7. diane says:

    my own fascination with her is that she does not know anything else about living other than being a queen.
    thats unique. that will be lost.

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