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Episode 16 - The death of Prince Philip, insights of the British Mind about the British Monarchy


“The Royal Family often divides people’s opinions. Some people love the Royals, some people think they’re a complete waste of time and as British tax payers we should not be supporting them.”


Hello everyone, welcome to the British English Language Podcast. This is a very special episode today as I will be joined by my two dear friends Iain and Rachel. Following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth the Second’s husband, Prince Philip, my two friends and I had an informal chat about what this news means to us as three British citizens.


Before we begin I’d like to let you know that you can find the transcription for this episode and all other episodes on the website - www.britishenglishlanguage.com.


Your challenge during this episode is to try to understand what my friends are saying! I think it’s going to be pretty difficult but it’s a good opportunity to listen to different British accents and an every day conversation at normal speed. The transcription will be particularly useful for this episode so head over to the website where you can access it for free!


Most importantly I’d like to extend my condolences to Prince Philip’s family and loved ones. He seemed to be a very dedicated, caring and honourable man and I thank him for everything he gave during his lifetime of relentless service.


Hey everyone! I am here today with my very good friends Rachel and Iain. You may have seen the news that the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh passed away yesterday. And we’re going to be having a discussion so that you guys can get some insights into the British mind about the British Monarchy.


Amy -


“OK so let’s go - Rach and Iain, um, tell me how do you feel about the news of Prince Philip passing away yesterday?”


Iain -


“To start with I suppose I was amused, um, that something significant happened other than Corona Virus news on the news. I was also saddened to hear that a great part of our monarchy and our potential sovereignty as humans, as UK citizens has like disappeared."


Amy -


“Thank you.”


Iain -


“You’re welcome, stop laughing.”


Amy -


“And Rach, what was your initial reaction to hearing the news yesterday?”


Rach -


“Um well, I was just out and someone mentioned it to me and I sort of knew he was going to die because he was 99 and he’d been in hospital, you know, and I guess the nation was probably prepared for him to leave, um and then I was interested actually because of course on the news they were talking about his past and I didn’t really know that much about him except that he was the queen’s husband and really his whole job his whole life was just to support the queen. Um and listening to the news and finding out more about him made me think actually he seemed like a really nice guy to have as a representative for our country. Um, interesting, apparently he came from Greece as a ‘pauper prince’, he was a refugee.”


Amy -


“What’s a ‘pauper prince’ Rach? Can you explain that?”


Rach -


“Um that was the name that in the 1940s he was given because he, I think he was forced out of Greece, his family, but he was a prince in Greece. So forced out, but they came with no money. So, I mean I don’t know what no money means in a royal circle. Um but he was still a prince, so therefore still, I guess, eligible to be possibly married to a princess. Um but apparently he wasn’t like the ideal scenario because he was poor. And when he met the queen, where did he meet her? I can’t remember, um."


Amy -


“He met her, I don’t know where but apparently she was 13-years-old and he was he was asked to look after her and her sister or entertain them at some, for something.”


Rach -


“Oh OK, oh interesting! Yeah. And then, but they got on really well and apparently he always made her laugh. Um and it took years and years and years for him to be accepted to be her husband. And then they got married in I think 1949 or something and I think he was 30 and he was in the RAF and you know had a blossoming career and all that sort of stuff. Um and then queen’s father who I can’t remember the name of!”


Amy -


“King George the Sixth!”


Rach -


“There you go! He died when she was really young so suddenly she had to take on the role of queen which meant that Prince Philip actually suddenly had to give up pretty much everything and be her companion and that was difficult for him because he was a young man and he had to carve a way of, you know, working and being happy but really just serving the queen, that was his job. And I’m saying all these things because I didn’t really know any of this. I’m not a royalist, I’m not anti-royals, I’m neither here nor there. They’re in our life but, you know, I’m not against them nor for them. But yeah he just sounded like a much more interesting person than I knew about, um, and yeah, I felt a bit sad, like you said, when I was hearing all about him, I was like ‘aw, he sounded really nice!’ And I would quite liked to have met someone like that! Because, you know, he’s lived a really interesting life and he said he’s always tried to make people laugh whenever he met them and, and he sounded caring. But also quite straight down the line, you know, stiff upper lip, British man. But, you know, straight down the line, said what he thought, and he also got quite a lot of flack from the British press for saying what he wanted to say, as opposed to following the PR line which lots of, well most celebrities and the royals sort of have to do, or do.”


Amy -


“So when Rach uses the phrase ‘straight down the line’ what she means is ‘direct’. It’s another way. Well no, yeah it’s good to demonstrate an English phrase. But Prince Philip was a very, or seemingly, a direct man who spoke his mind, maybe controversially at times. Which I think is a really nice quality. And I did a previous episode called ‘Why are British people so polite?’. And in that episode I talk about how indirect British people generally are. Yes. And we beat around the bush! There’s another really really good English phrase yes! And that basically means we are indirect so it’s refreshing to have that directness, well, not that I experienced Prince Philip’s directness! But I like that quality, personally, in somebody.”


Iain -


“Can I ask you a question, Amy? Do you feel like, since Prince Philip’s passing has come, that this quality in English people will be lost?”


Amy -


“Um, well he wasn’t English actually was he?”


Rach -


“That’s a good point.”


Amy -


“So yeah. Um…”


Iain -


“German? Oh you said he came from…”


Amy -


“He’s, isn’t he half Greek, half Danish?”


Rach -


“I think so, yeah.”


Iain -


“And what about the queen? Her descendants are German aren’t they?


Amy -


“Well I don’t know but apparently both the queen and Prince Philip are both great grandchildren of Queen Victoria.”


Rach -


“Oh! No way! I did not know that.”


Amy -


“Neither did I until today.”


Amy -


“So how did I feel when I heard the news? Well, I personally, um, similar to you, Rach, I’m not passionate about the royal family, nor do I hate them. Um, so I’m kind of on the fence. And that’s another good phrase to introduce to you guys. When you say you’re on the fence about something, it means you’re maybe undecided or you’re not taking sides. So you’re neither on one side nor on the other side. So quite literally you’re sitting on the fence between two things. Um so, yes, maybe I felt indifferent or maybe I felt…”


Rach -


“The thing is, I guess because we grew up in a country with a royal family, you know, for us it’s like well we’ve got a queen, when you’re a kid, well, whatever. There’s a queen. And then, you know, when I was a child lady Diana got married to Prince Charles. And that was quite exciting for me because I was living in the countryside and there weren’t many things to be excited about! And it was a massive thing that there was a royal wedding, you know, and there was so much going on at school and stuff like that. But then as an adult, I think because, probably for me, because we have a royal family you sort of think ‘well whatever’. I don’t feel very interested in their lives. But a friend of mine who lived in Australia, um well she lived here for a while, went back home to Australia and then when William and Kate got married she flew back from Australia to go and see them, you know, in their car because she loves the royal family so much!”


Amy -


“Wow!”


Rach -


“And I thought that was crazy! But, you know, we’re spoiled, we have a royal family and maybe if I’d have grown up in a country where we didn’t have a royal family maybe I would be more interested in it. I’m sitting on the fence. I don’t mind if we have a royal family and if we didn’t have one I also wouldn’t really mind.”


Iain -


“I do mind.”


Rach -


“I know you do mind.”


Iain -


“I do mind because of what it means to us as individuals.”


Rach -


“And since you’ve told me about that I can understand that more actually.”


Amy -


“What do you think then Iain, what do you mind?”


Iain -


“I mind that it’s the demise of our sovereignty.”


Amy -


“The demise of our sovereignty? What does that mean?"


Iain -


“It means that individual people have a right to being human beings, um, other than being subject to the state as an organisation. So outside of government, so the queen and the government, or the, yeah you have the state, you have the queen, you have the government. They’re very different organisations and even though they talk to each other, or they used to talk to each other, the rights of the human being always have, in the UK, resided under her rule.”


Rach -


“Mmm it’s a really good point.”


Iain -


“And so governments therefore, it doesn’t matter who is Prime Minister, they have no rights over you as a human being and if that disappears then the government does have a right over you as a human being in some weird way. Dunno. I don’t know how that’s going to evolve or what that’s going to look like but it’s a sad time.”


Amy -


“Yeah, worrying.”


Iain -


“Worrying, indeed.”


Amy -


“Well something that struck me today, um, or something that came to my attention, was the humanness, the humanity, the humanity of the royal family. As I was watching some tributes to Prince Philip and learning about how he’s served this country for over seven decades, so over 70 years, and seeing him um seeing video clips of him interacting with the British public it was really beautiful and I saw his human side and it was very touching for me. I felt very moved by Price Philip and his service to the country. It was nice to see the royal family in that way and understand that they are human too.”


Rach -


“Yeah, it’s a good point. Absolutely.”


Amy -


“Yeah. Iain, um please share more. I would love um…”


Iain -


“Do you know what I know about the royal family?”


Amy -


“What?”


Iain -


“Nothing.”


Amy -


“Thank you so much, Rachel and Iain for your insightful thoughts and feelings about the sad news of Prince Philip’s passing. I really appreciate you joining me for this podcast episode.”


Rach -


“Thank you Amy! It’s been really fun! Thanks for asking my opinion on the royal family!”


Amy -


“Thanks for giving your opinion, Rach!”


Rach -


“You’re welcome.”


Iain -


“Thanks babe!”


Amy -


“Thank you, um that was really fun actually!


Iain -


“It’s been really fun to have this with you! Thank you so much, let’s do it again!”


Amy -


“I’ve been laughing!”


Rach -


“We should definitely do it again!”


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