Meghan Markle has given up seafood, garlic and bare legs since she married Prince Harry. Now she has supposedly also abandoned her Californian accent for a ‘fake’ British one.
A resurfaced video of the Duchess of Sussex speaking during a June 14 walkabout in Cheshire has gone viral, dividing opinion over whether Meghan has adopted the Queen’s English less than two months after her wedding.
It shows a fan telling Meghan she “watched her for so long” on her former TV drama Suits, before the new royal is heard introducing herself to other fans and discussing the weather.
Social media users claimed they picked up a hint of British poshness when Meghan, 36, said “What’s your name?” and “Oh thank you.”
Mainstream media outlets including The Telegraph, The Express and The Independent weighed in on the mystery, with The Guardian proclaiming, “‘Allo Duchess.”
Gossip specialist Perez Hilton referenced another US star’s accent change when she married an Englishman: “Meghan Markle’s getting a case of the Madonna.”
What do you hear, compared to Meghan’s signature American accent on Suits?
Meghan said my name, that’s me done😭 pic.twitter.com/167F2ubjUh
— Aya El Zeiny (@elzeiny99) June 14, 2018
Meghan’s accent was called out by some on social media as phony.
“Unreasonably sad about Meghan Markle adopting an English accent and inflexions,” wrote one user.
“We’ve officially lost her to the monarchy.”
Said another, “I’m kind of disappointed. It seems unauthentic for Meghan Markle to be speaking with a British accent. Especially this fast.”
Ive been holding this unpopular opinion back for SO long, but now that the British accent video has circulated and the internet is starting to come around to how fake Meghan Markle is…. pic.twitter.com/liAIAx8Vc9
— angela (@angelakardash) July 6, 2018
Meghan Markle is a lil phony for that fake British accent coming through
But if I became British royalty you’d see me day 2 saying pip pip cheerio
— Shan (@shoy_7) July 5, 2018
**Laughs in British** https://t.co/2nKC0CDHeA
— Carly Ledbetter (@ledbettercarly) July 6, 2018
Meghan has been living in London since December 2017, when she quit acting to move in with Harry at Kensington Palace.
She has reportedly been having etiquette lessons from a senior staffer in the royal household, which could include elocution training.
While Kate Middleton speaks only sparingly in public, one video she made for a mental health charity has subtitles in deference to her cut glass English pronunciation.
Some social media users defended Meghan’s alleged accent change.
everyone commenting on Meghan Markle adopting a British accent… understandable, I watch one Harry Potter movie and suddenly I’m British
— ray (@rsjeanine) July 6, 2018
People who are rolling their eyes have likely not moved or stayed long term in another country before. This isn’t that crazy & I doubt it’s phoney. https://t.co/CFocGXuJmy
— Teri Fikowski (@TeriFikowski) July 5, 2018
Don't drag Meghan Markle for making her accent more English-ey. If you're an American living in the UK and you don't change your question-asking inflection, do you even count?
— Chelsea 𓆑 (@chelseann) July 5, 2018
“It’s not a full blown accent but it is coming out here and there,” wrote one Twitter user.
Others pointed out the change was bound to happen at some point, writing: “It’s only natural, though I’m surprised it’s come this quickly”.
The perceived change in Meghan’s accent is all in our mind, according to Dennis Preston, a professor of linguistics at Oklahoma State University, who “didn’t find anything resembling a British accent” in Meghan’s vowels.
“She married an Englishman, she lives in England, she’s hanging with the Queen, and people think, ‘Gosh, she must be doing something with her language,'” Professor Preston told Yahoo.
“Essentially, our brain gets in the way of our ear. So we hear what we expect to hear, rather than what we actually do.”
It would be totally normal for Meghan to identify herself as a British royal by taking on an English accent, according to dialect coach Pamela Vanderway.
“There’s a particular pull for her to take on that way of speaking [and] she may or may not be taking it on consciously,” she told The Guardian.
The debate means Meghan’s pronunciation will be under the spotlight on Tuesday, when she and Harry, 33, kick off their first tour as a married couple.
The Duke and Duchess will fly out of London after Prince Louis’ christening on Monday afternoon (UK time) for their two-day visit to Ireland.
The tour will take in a visit to a Gaelic sports festival, a summer garden party and a visit to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s most significant cultural treasures.