Royal jargon you need to know

The Crown’s third season is just around the corner (Netflix November 17) and we’re on the edge of one’s seat with excitement—here's how to keep up with the regal lingo on the show

Teaser trailers have revealed that we shall be jumping forward in time with our beloved royals, as we watch them experience life in the 1960s. This time, there’s an expected shift of focus, away from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s complex relationship to the fascinating lives of Princess Margaret and the young Prince Charles. 

As we enter the world of this uncharted royal territory, we’ll likely encounter new terminology and jargon that might leave a few of us scratching our heads. So, to celebrate The Crown’s return, we asked the experts at leading language learning app Babbel, to give us all of the insider insights needed to help us make sense of season three. Whether you’re a royal enthusiast looking to test your knowledge, or a newcomer who can’t tell a viscount from a baron, you’re bound to enjoy the royal lingo Babbel has rounded up.

 

“Silver jubilee”

Revealed in the latest sneak peak trailer; season three will cover Her Majesty’s silver jubilee, marking the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne. But where does the word jubilee come from? It’s actually French in origin; stemming from the old French world jubile, which meant “anniversary, celebration, or rejoicing”. The concept of a jubilee, meanwhile, is thought to be a Jewish tradition—where a year of observance is taken every fifty years for emancipation and restoration. 

 

“The Commonwealth”

The latest trailer has also told us that this season is likely to explore the breakdown of the last parts of the British Empire. During the 1960s and 1970s, 27 former colonies began their lives as independent nations from Great Britain, becoming the Commonwealth as we know it today. For those unsure on this term, the Commonwealth is a political system of 53 member states, first established in 1923, as to steer the British Empire towards decolonisation. Jamaica, Granada, Cyprus, Nigeria and many more countries all received independence—alongside Commonwealth membership—during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth, and each realm within it—and the House of Windsor (the reigning royal household), established in 1917, presides over Commonwealth territories. 

 

“Line of succession”

An exciting new addition to the cast of season three is the young Prince Charles, who was crowned Prince of Wales in 1969. Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted that the trailer teases an investiture ceremony, as well as a blossoming romance with Charles’ now-wife, Camilla.

A major roadblock to this new romance was Charles’ role in the line of succession (the order in which individuals are expected to succeed one another in official royal positions). You can expect it to play a large part in this season, as Charles finds himself limited by the line of duty. 

An investiture is a special royal day during which people are “honoured”, or awarded by a member of the royal family (including the Queen herself) at a royal residence. Usually during this process, those being honoured are usually given insignia. We expect this might mark some serious family drama, or work to illustrate the famously tense relationship between Prince Charles and his mother. 

Now wondering what an insignia is? Simple: it’s a physical symbol (often in the form of a pin, broach or medal) designed to show a person’s membership of a group, or to show their rank within that group (such as the military, or the royal family). 

 

“Royal relations”

Perhaps the most hotly anticipated of all is the award winning Helena Bonham Carter’s appearance, as she takes on the role of fan-favourite Princess Margaret. The new season is expected to explore her marriage to Lord Snowden, as well as her role as Countess of Snowdon.

Are you wondering how to tell your Lord from your Countess? We can help. The male version of the term Lady is Lord, and is used as a blanket term to address male nobles: These can be dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts or barons.
Countess is one of the many positions that falls under the term Lady. Originally taken from Old English, the word, Lady, has been historically used to describe a woman who sits at the head of a household. In fact, it’s been used this way since the 13th century! The term later came to be associated with a female “of a superior position in society”: which is why it can mean a marchioness, countess, viscountess or baroness. It can also be used as a title for the daughters of higher-up nobles such as dukes, marquesses or earls. 


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