The invitation that every fervent royalist dreams of arrives in the mail. It comes in a luxurious envelope and is adorned with the seal of the House of Windsor. You gingerly open it, half-expecting to awaken from a dream, but this dream is real. Somehow you, a slovenly commoner, have been invited to dine with the illustrious British Royal Family, but before you get to primping yourself and obsessing over what party gift could possibly be appropriate, it is advisable to educate yourself on the basics of British linguistics. The citizens of this small but formidable island are famous for their plethora of cheeky expressions and silly slang terms, but not all of them are appropriate for use in front of a monarch…
No matter your personal feelings towards them, when addressing a member of the Royal Family, under no circumstance may you refer to them as a ‘toff.’ This is a derogatory term for an upper-class person and is better utilized in situations, like, “Did you see Victoria Beckham flaunting her Loewe bag at that fundraiser? What a toff!”
2. Bit of Crumpet
Don’t be fooled by this innocent-sounding phrase, and certainly don’t mistakenly utilize it as a part of a culinary request when enjoying high tea at Windsor castle. “A bit of crumpet” is a phrase uttered between ill-behaved gentlemen on a stag night, the British equivalent of a ‘hot chick.’ “Hey lads, wanna head to the club? Maybe bring home a bit of crumpet tonight?”
3. Brass Monkeys
Britain isn’t famous for its temperate weather. That’s why native dwellers have seen fit to create clever expressions to compensate for the less-than-desirable climate. One such expression, ‘It’s Brass Monkeys’ is used to acknowledge cold weather and seems innocent enough. Less so for the Royal Family who is sure to be aware of the less-tasteful and unabridged version of the expression, “It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.”
4. Her Majesty’s Pleasure
At first glance, this little turn of phrase could be taken any number of ways, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that it has anything to do with the general state-of-well-being of the Queen. ‘Her majesty’s pleasure’ refers to being incarcerated; i.e., “Didn’t Hugh Grant once spend some time at her Majesty’s pleasure?”
5. How’s Your Father?
When looking to enquire as to the health of the male head of the family of any given member of the royal family, it’s best to favour a less direct approach. ‘How’s your father’ is a euphemism for sex, and may be utilized as per the following: “Hey, mate, how are you and the missus? Had any of the old, ‘How’s Your Father?’ lately?”
6. John Thomas/Fanny
Just because the British have invented these rather jolly sounding nicknames for their penis/vagina respectively, it does not mean you should utilize them in the presence of a monarch.
7. Up the Duff
Look, there’s no one more invested in carrying on the Royal bloodline than the members of the family themselves, but inquiring as to whether or not Meghan Markle is ‘up the duff’ (pregnant) is just crass and, quite frankly, none of your business.
8. Dog’s Bollocks
Even though the combination of these words is used to describe something that is top-notch and extremely desirable, leaving references of animal genitalia out of polite conversation is always advisable, i.e., “Did you try the Sticky Toffee Pudding at the pub? Man, it’s the dog’s bollocks!!”
9. Going to see a man about a dog
It seems as good a reason as any for excusing yourself from polite company, but if you tell old Lizzie you’re ‘going to see a man about a dog’ she will make the assumption that you’re leaving to have a bowel movement!
These words feel great coming out of one’s mouth, and they so beautifully describe the ‘idiots’ worthy of their ire, but perhaps more discretion is in order when referring to, say, world leaders. “That Donald Trump is a real Wazzock.” True, but perhaps not the time and place for such colourful linguistics.
No matter how far Prince Philip’s overly-opinionated talk degrades toward tasteless, inappropriate and offensive over the course of the night, refrain from the temptation to call him ‘gobby,’ regardless of how fitting the term seems in the moment.
12. Slap and Tickle
However hilarious it may seem to drop this cutesy euphemism for ‘heavy petting’ into conversation in the presence of royalty, mind that members of the SAS and the Royal Guard are never far away.
13. Throwing a wobbly
Throwing a wobbly means having a tantrum. In the eventuality that Charles throws a wobbly when his personal cushion is placed incorrectly at the dinner table, it is not necessary to create a further scene by referring to it as such.
Wishing you good luck, good times, and not a single semantic cock-up (better research that one too) as you embark on this once-in-a-life-time venture. Pip pip!