Queen Elizabeth II's famous cut-glass accent, the Queen's English, is
now sounding less upper-class, a scientific analysis of her famous
Christmas broadcasts found.
Researchers analysed each of her messages to the Commonwealth since her
1952 accession using digital
technology to track the shift in her pronunciation from the aristocratic Upper Received to the
less plummy Standard Received.
Jonathan Harrington, professor of phonetics at Germany's University of
Munich, wanted to discover whether dialect changes recorded over the past
half-century would take place within one person.
"As far as I know, there just is nobody else for whom there is this
sort of broadcast archive," he said.
He said the aristocratic way of pronouncing vowels had gradually ceased
to be a class apart over the decades.
"Her accent sounds slightly less aristocratic than it did 50 years ago.
But these are very, very subtle and slow changes that we don't notice from
year to year," he explained.
"We may be able to relate it to changes in the class structure."
He told The Daily Telegraph newspaper: "In 1952 she would have been
heard referring to 'thet men in the bleck het'. Now it would be 'that man
in the black hat'.
"Similarly, she would have spoken of 'the citay' and 'dutay', rather
than 'citee' and 'dutee'. In the 1950s she would have been 'lorst', but by
the 1970s lost."
The queen's annual broadcast is a personal message to the Commonwealth.
A Christmas institution, the 10-minute broadcast is televised at 3:00
pm in Britain as many families are recovering from their traditional
The results were published in the Journal of Phonetics quarterly