Prepare to hear a LOT about Queen Elizabeth II over the next few weeks. The elderly monarch is set to become unavoidable in the run up to the Diamond Jubilee bank holiday on 5 June.
It is likely to get annoying, even if you are a die-hard monarchist. It may even provoke tirades of bad language upon the sight of YET ANOTHER set of retro-kitsch Union Jack paper plates.
But don’t worry! Tatler has reliably informed me that even the Queen swears:
“She swears but constrains her expletives to those that begin with a ‘b’. B****r! B****y! B*****d!”
Tatler being Tatler, they have decided to asterix out characters, but my expert knowledge of posh people swearing and skills in code breaking have lead me to the following three words:
Bugger! Bloody! Bastard!
Let’s takes these one at a time and learn how to swear like the Queen:
Yes! The Queen talks about anal sex! Bugger has roots in Anglo-Norman language, starting out as “bougre” which referred to a heretic or traitor. Apparently, those pesky heretics enjoyed anal penetration as well as challenging dominant religious ideals.
Over the years, bugger has become a common English swearword, normally popular with polite older ladies who don’t normally swear, as in: “Oh, bugger! I forgot to buy the sherry for the trifle when I was at Waitrose”.
This general-purpose expletive is handy in all sorts of scenarios. You can tell someone to “bugger off” if they’ve annoyed you, declare “bugger me” when you are shocked or surprised or spend a happy day “buggering about” and achieve very little as a result.
Possible Royal Usage: Bugger me, Phillip! Doesn’t Catherine look divine in teal Jenny Packham?
As my Nan has always said: “there’s bloody in the Bible, there’s bloody in the book, if you don’t bloody believe me, take a bloody look”. This is a pretty low ranking swear word, in as much as most people will barely bat an eyelid upon hearing it.
Like many swearwords, it is believed to be of sacrilegious origin. Some believe that it began as an abbreviated form of the phrase “by Our Lady”. An alternative theory links the word to Queen Mary I and her persecution of Protestants that lead to her being referred to as Bloody Mary.
It works especially well when combined with “hell” as a general outcry of frustration, surprise or annoyance.
Possible Royal Usage: Aren’t one’s dorgis and corgis bloody adorable?!
One can only speculate, but I would suspect that Queen Elizabeth II pronounces this “bar-stard”. Upper clar-ss English people love adding unnecessary “r”s to words (see also: “bath” and “laugh”).
This particular word is a somewhat unpleasant term for a child born to unmarried parents. It was once an considerable insult, but has somewhat lost its potency in the 21st century. Most people, excluding Daily Express readers and parts of the current government, have finally figured that unmarried parents can do a grand job of raising children.
Folk now use “bastard” to refer to someone who has annoyed them or that they simply dislike e.g. “Did you see him cut me up? Bastard!”. It can also be used to describe inanimate objects or events that cause offence (e.g. “I stubbed my toe on that bastard skirting board again”).
Possible Royal Usage: If one has to go to another bar-stard jubilee bash, one will simply explode in a hulk-style royal rage.
Jen Evans is a journalist specialising in culture. She reads Tatler all the bloody time, honest. You can read more of her writing on her blog, Bookish Brunette.
Original image via Lee J Haywood's Flickr. Altered by Jen Evans using Halftone for iPad.