Queen Victoria was the Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837 until 1901. At the time, her reign was the longest of any British monarch and she additionally served as Empress of India.
You may be wondering how many languages did Queen Victoria speak? She was the monarch of several different countries and was a hugely influential person so it’s natural to wonder if she also spoke multiple languages.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This post will go into detail on what languages Queen Victoria spoke, how fluent she was in them and how she learnt them.
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What Languages Did Queen Victoria Speak?
Queen Victoria spoke 6 languages to varying levels. Queen Victoria spoke English, German, French, Italian and Latin. She also learnt to speak Urdu/Hindi later in life.
English is one of her native languages as she was born in London in 1819 to the British royal family and was raised in England.
Did Queen Victoria Speak German?
Yes, Queen Victoria spoke German.
Queen Victoria’s mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was actually German and lived in Germany until she was 31 years old when she moved to the UK to marry Queen Victoria’s father, Prince Edward.
Due to this, Queen Victoria grew up speaking German with her mother for the first 3 years of her life.
From age 3, English became her primary language as her mother thought it would be more politically appropriate for her to speak English so they began to converse in English together.
Additionally, Victoria was raised by a German baroness, Louise Lehzen, and she studied German with her tutor during her school years.
Victoria even reportedly had a German accent at one point, likely due to growing up around her German mother and baroness. Tutors were hired to eradicate this accent.
Victoria initially found learning German difficult and complicated. She didn’t use the language much in day-to-day life after age 3.
She continued speaking primarily in English until she met her husband, Prince Albert, who was also German.
Victoria married Albert in 1840 when she was 20 years old. Queen Victoria spoke German almost all of the time with her husband even after Albert became proficient in English.
Albert and Victoria could regularly be heard talking, telling jokes, and even arguing in German when in private.
All nine of Victoria’s children received schooling in German and all could speak the language fluently.
German was commonly spoken within the family although she and her eldest daughter wrote to each other almost daily for 43 years (almost 8,000 letters!) and these letters were all written in English.
Did Queen Victoria Speak French?
Yes, Queen Victoria spoke French fluently.
Queen Victoria learnt to speak French as a child. She studied with private tutors everyday during her schooling years.
Her lessons included French which was a standard subject for young girls born into aristocratic families at the time.
She even wrote several letters in French to other monarchs including King Louis-Philippe of France, the Tsar of Russia and to Queen Louise of Belgium.
Did Queen Victoria Speak Italian?
Yes, Queen Victoria spoke some Italian.
Queen Victoria learnt to speak Italian as a child. She followed a strict timetable and studied with private tutors everyday growing up. Her lessons included Italian.
It is thought that Queen Victoria spoke Italian to a good level but was not completely fluent.
Did Queen Victoria Speak Latin?
Yes, Queen Victoria spoke some Latin.
Queen Victoria learnt to speak Latin as a child. She studied with private tutors everyday during her early years.
Her lessons included Latin which was a standard subject for young girls born into aristocratic families at the time.
Did Queen Victoria Speak Hindi & Urdu?
Yes, Queen Victoria did speak some Hindi and Urdu later in life. At the time, the 2 languages were referred to as ‘Hindustani’ and there was little distinction between them.
Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1877 when she was 58 years old.
In August 1887, some Indian servants arrived at Windsor Castle. Victoria developed a close relationship with one of her Indian servants, Abdul Karim, who taught her some Hindi and Urdu phrases that she could use with her servants.
Adbul was originally hired as a waiter but was soon promoted by Victoria to ‘Munshi’ which means teacher. He taught her Hindi and Urdu every day. Victoria regularly wrote pages and pages in Hindi and Urdu.
By the time of her death in 1901, she had completed 13 volumes of journals in Hindustani.
According to the book about this period, Victoria & Abdul, Victoria wrote in her diary ‘it is a great interest to me for both the language and the people, I have naturally never come into real contact with before’.
Queen Victoria had a great interest in the Hindustani language. She used what Abdul had taught her to greet the Maharani Chimnabai of Baroda in Urdu during a visit. Adbul also taught Queen Victoria how to write in Urdu and Hindi.
Victoria was actually really fond of Indian culture and even decorated one of the rooms at Osborne House, where she spent much of her time in her later years, in the style and decor of India.
Additionally, after Abdul cooked curry for her, she added it to her daily menu and had it for lunch every day.
It may surprise you that Queen Victoria spoke 6 languages. It surprised us too!
It is great to see that Queen Victoria had such a keen interest in learning languages. No doubt she had the best teachers around but she certainly did seem to have a linguistic gift.
Thanks for reading this post which answers the question ‘how many languages did Queen Victoria speak?’.
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