Reciting “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” turned Eliza Doolittle into My Fair Lady. But these days, if you want to hang with the royals, you had better learn to speak like a Sloane. What’s a Sloane? Named for their beloved Sloane Square, hub of one of London’s chichi shopping districts, Sloanes are Britain’s established upper class, with a clubby lingo all their own.
As lockjawed as our own slightly extinct preppies, Sloanes are known for their air of easy entitlement and their abhorrence of brains, fashion, ambition and achievement. Unlike our yuppies, Sloanes consider professional exertion (and mad acquisition) a bit sweaty and New World. Better to rest on the laurels—and faded sofa—of some distant progenitor. Better to lift a glass of Pimm’s at the Antelope, a favorite Sloane pub, or pop over to “Rods,” as Harrods is fondly known, for a chat over a pot of Darjeeling.
Here’s all you need to get started rappin’ royal:
Brilliant, in good form. Used easily and excessively.
THICK AS A PLANK:
Dense. A pejorative that Diana overmodestly applies to herself and that others often affix to affable Andrew.
Over the Top. Too much. Toooootally ridiculous.
Temporarily out of crispies.
Sloanes older than 40; parents.
Sanctioned ritual, e.g., inheriting crispies from wrinklies.
A long, long time, as in, “Haven’t seen Caroline at Rods for absolute yonks.”
A true Sloane. Potential mate.
Resentful, as in chip on the shoulder. “When she heard I’d bagged the Goods, she got rather chippie.”
Suitable Occupation for a Sloane. Working with children or animals, to be given up upon meeting the Goods.
A small Sloane, an heir. “Julia? She’s too busy with those two ankle biters of hers.”
What Really Matters, i.e., marriage, horses, ankle biters and (never admit it) crispies.
Marital partner who runs off with a lover, often foreign.
Sense of Humor Failure: Daddy’s reaction to Mummy’s bolting.
SPOT OF BOTHER:
A little problem, such as Mummy or Daddy bolting.
Spot of bother.
Young Sloane male, typically in real estate or insurance, who lives to tipple.
JOLLY HOCKEY STICKS:
Thigh-slapping girl with a “haw haw” Fergiesque laugh.
BIT OF A GIGGLE:
Tossing pastries at Hoorays at lunch. (This is how Fergie snagged Andrew.)
BAGS OF FUN:
Bit of a giggle.
Analagous to American nerds, these boys get picked on at school by Hoorays. “Had bags of fun shoving that wet in the muck!”
Pronounced bawwwwwring. Anything not Sloane, that is, anything serious and heavy.
To chatter boringly. “Do forgive me for nattering on about Rupert’s stroke.”
Scram! The unreconstructed Anne’s indelicate advice to hounding Fleet Street photographers.
In addition to speaking what one argot arbiter calls haute Sloane, the royals have coined or cultivated a few colorful terms of their own:
Diana’s Sloaney name for Charles.
Philip’s affectionate nickname for the Queen.
The Firm’s moniker for soon-to-be ex-in-law Mark Phillips.
BUCK HOUSE or B.P.:
The result of an accidental mating between one of the Queen’s Corgis and Margaret’s dachshund.
Not a dog, but a padded jacket for pheasant shooting.
Morally Obliged to Go. What you are when you receive a stiffy from the Queen.
Queen Mother’s term for troublesome people she dislikes.
The Queen with an S.O.H.F. “I’m in one of my chinless days,” she’ll say, chin down. Happy days are “chin days.”
What the Queen, seconds before walking off, says when she is not amused.