Lord help us all if Meghan Markle uses American terminology like ‘pants’ or ‘trash’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle present the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at London's Goldsmiths' Hall

In 2010-11, then-Kate Middleton became engaged to Prince William and people needed an excuse for why we saw so little of her. The excuse became “well, she’s off at princess boot-camp.” Which really isn’t a thing. It was never a thing. There was talk that Kate was being “mentored” by the Countess of Wessex, and that Kate was receiving “training” from Buckingham Palace courtiers, but I really don’t believe those lessons consisted of much more than a few meetings. Now I do think Kate had a pre-engagement overhaul, especially with her elocution/accent. But in general, I don’t think those princess lessons were ever really a thing.

So will it be different for a gauche American girl marrying into the British royal family? There’s already been a lot of talk about how Meghan Markle will need “princess lessons” in addition to all of the other (more tangible) lessons she’ll receive to pass her British citizenship exams. I personally think that the royal courtiers have shown a willingness to allow Meghan to “learn on the job,” and trust that she’ll figure things out pretty quickly. But snooty people are snooty, so we have this:

With just four months to go until the Royal Wedding, it’s thought that bride-to-be Meghan Markle has been preparing for her life as a royal with ‘finishing lessons’. It’s been claimed the US actress, 36, is undergoing lessons in etiquette and elocution, and covering everything from table manners to how to dress.

She’s also being taught techniques for how to properly get out of a car and how to socialise with foreign diplomats, according to the Daily Star. A royal source reportedly told the newspaper: “There’ll be no stone unturned as in less than 12 weeks all eyes will be on her – there is no room for error. Harry has been brought up living and breathing all this. He has a lifetime of nurturing and breeding behind him but Meghan has a matter of weeks to learn what she needs to be accepted at the royal court.”

The source added: “If she was left without guidance, the marriage would begin in the same vein as Diana and Charles – with the bride feeling helpless and alone.”

They also said she will be learning how to switch to English terminology.

“She simply cannot be ‘taking out the trash’ and ‘wearing pants’,” they went on.

[From The Daily Mirror]

Wait, do British people not know what “taking out the trash” means? I know the “pants” thing – in America, “pants” means “trousers.” In Britain, “pants” means “underwear” (and yes, hopefully Meg will be wearing pants, and she just won’t flash her pants constantly like Kate). Those small, idiosyncratic terms are just some of minor things that she’ll pick up, if she hasn’t already. Brits say something about “garbage” right, not trash? Or their “bins.” Something about bins.

As for “etiquette and elocution” lessons – I’m sure Meghan is getting some lessons about how to address diplomats and heads of state and all of that. I’m sure she’s getting briefed on the basic logistics of everything from who enters a state dinner first to handshakes and more. But those aren’t really princess lessons? Those are just, like, lessons in how to be a soft-power diplomat. And Meghan doesn’t need elocution lessons, she’s not Eliza Doolittle. She’s just fine – she doesn’t need to adopt a glass-cutting accent, nor does she need help with public speaking. She’s already shown she’s very comfortable.

Prince Harry and fiancee Meghan Markle during a visit to Cardiff Castle as part of their royal duties

Photos courtesy of Pacific Coast News.

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112 Responses to “Lord help us all if Meghan Markle uses American terminology like ‘pants’ or ‘trash’”

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  1. sus says:

    Why not, as a sign of respect for the people whose tax money she’ll live off, make a few changes to her vernacular.

  2. A Croatian says:

    You know, I think she needs lessons just because my God the Royals with their protocols!!! We know some of them, we could know more of them if we wanted to, but I don’t think any of us, commoners, are aware how many protocols and rules there are! I would be happy if I were her to get the lessons, just to be informed. Doesn’t mean she has to obey everything

  3. Lexter says:

    Yes of course British people know the word trash but it is SO American. I’d never ever say it. I feel dirty typing it

    • Brunswickstoval says:

      Panties. I will never get used to that word being used without inwardly cringing.

      • Oandlomom says:

        I hate that word too. So gross.

      • Hotsauceinmybag says:

        I’m American and I also think the word panties is disgusting. I never use it lol

      • Numi says:

        Pussy is also a horrible American word for your Hoo ha, it drives me insane.

      • Masamf says:

        Numi, the first time I heard that word pussy was from a British guy, it was 1991 and I was visiting my late sister (God RHSIP) in London. In my motherland, everybody calls cats pussy cat and we call them pussy for short! But I never ever called the cat that word after that guy referred to the hoo ha as a pussy! 😅😅
        I see nothing wrong with Megs learning the laws and the culture of her new land. And I don’t think she should do anything as a sign of respect to the taxpayer etc etc, I think she should do it for her own learning and advancement, this is to her own benefit. Where I come from, we were a British colony and his speak English with British terminology. But when I moved to Canada, I made sure to unlearn some of that terminology and learn the North Americans for easier comminucation with people in my new land. So I think it’s in Meg’s best inetersts to learn new terminology for easier communication. What I have an issue with will be her adopting the British accent and try to speak like Kate, now that will be very fake and unacceptable!

    • Mara says:

      Same I just can’t say the ‘t’ word, it feels wrong. As for the British equivalent, I always say ‘rubbish’, don’t know about others?

      • MissAmerica says:

        I’m American but have traveled for long periods of time to the UK as well as the fact I’ve been living in Australia for 10 years. I’ve never heard the words trash or garbage, only rubbish, and yes, it does go in a bin, not a trash can. I’ve also never heard the word panties or pants in reference to underwear. For men it’s underwear and ladies knickers. I’m fine with all that. But the one British & Australian word that totally freaks me out is toilet. They don’t ask where the ladies room/restroom/bathroom is, they ask where the toilet is. It’s so crudely visual in my opinion, but perhaps I’m too American at heart to fully understand. :P And another fun word is fanny, it’s a slang for a bottom in the US and a slang for a vagina in British English. A bit embarrassing to get caught out on that one.

      • Here or There says:

        I live in the UK, and I hate toilet. I usually say ‘loo, lavatory (‘lav-a-tree), or facilities.
        I miss saying bathroom or restroom.

      • LadyMTL says:

        Canadian here, and I’ve always said “garbage” and not “trash.” Mind you, until I dated a Brit I generally did say “pants” instead of “trousers” but now it’s probably 50-50.

        That said, I also hate the word “panties”…ugh. Makes me cringe so hard.

      • anika says:

        Many non english speaking countries use the word toilet.

      • Erinn says:

        I’m with LadyMTL – Canadian and we will “take the garbage out on garbage day”.

        I don’t say trousers. I picture something an old man wears when I think trouser. My husbands apprentice was convinced that a chesterfield was a dresser the other day. And he was so convinced that he wouldn’t know what one was either – but he did, so the kid was disappointed. I think there’s a lot more British style speaking in eastern Canada than there is in western, and to be fair to the kid, he’s from out west.

      • Lara K says:

        Canadian here, too, and of course it’s “garbage”.
        “Trash” is reserved for people who p*ss me off.
        “Rubbish” is what many celebrities say when they think they are being clever.

        And it’s underwear. “Panties” are ok, but too often preceded by the word granny.

        And it’s “pants”. “trousers” are like pants, except they are plaid, ugly, and go up to your armpits.

      • Hotsauceinmybag says:

        My ex in my early 20′s was British and we were in a LDR (him living in Surrey and me living in NYC). We used to visit each other quite frequently and I found myself changing my wording a lot because I used to communicate with his family much more than he would with mine, and because his friends used to “take the p*ss” out of my accent and my vocab. I would say, “where’s the bathroom?” and people would go “are you off to take a bath? haha” etc. Idk if it was a regional thing in that part of England and there weren’t any other Americans around so I felt quite self-conscious about “speaking like an American,” to the point where I still use words like jumper, footie, bin, supper, etc. IMO it sounds better but maybe that’s my PTSD talking on my behalf, haha.

    • bluhare says:

      She *is* American! She’ll slide into the British vernacular easily enough. When you hear something all the time you start to say it. I speak American now, but I grew up British.

      • Plantpal says:

        First generation Canadian here (my parents were from England): Undergarments for anything underneath your clothes. I take our garbage to the communal garbage bin. I wear trousers, because my dog pants when hot or tired, but my dog does not wear pants. When needing to relieve myself, I ask directions to the women’s room, as I identify as a woman. My son asks for directions to the men’s room. At home we use the bathroom for both bathing and toileting, though not at the same time. I use the mirror for my “toilette” (hair and makeup). I generally eat supper at home, but go out for dinner.

  4. wood dragon says:

    Rubbish not trash, right?
    Lorry not truck.
    Knickers not underwear.
    Bum not bottom or rear end.
    (Some of those English terms are sort of cutesy sounding, aren’t they?)
    A regular socio-political minefield.

  5. whatever says:

    Nothing wrong with some pre-new job training/guidance. Celebitchy makes it seem terrible but she’s lucky at least she is getting the support, not everyone does when they start a new job. It’s much better than being thrown into the deep end and making a fool of yourself in front of the entire world.

  6. Hh says:

    She should learn to the terminology given the position she’ll be holding. No problem there. However, I do have an issue with the whole “it’s gauche because Americans do/say it.”

  7. magnoliarose says:

    That is dumb as dirt. Brits say rubbish, not trash. So what. She is American. If saying trousers is so important than make laws about the BRF only marrying Brits. Otherwise, stop the ridiculous.
    That is like the French saying unless those Brits stop saying Beechum for Beauchamp then they can’t marry our president. Or Sinjin for Saint John.
    Americans say it correctly. *sniff* Lol

  8. SilverUnicorn says:


    For normal peasants, people can apply for British citizenship after 5 years (you need to show visas, proof of ILR, proof of funds, private health insurance, etc.).

    It does NOT exist under UK’s immigration law a citizenship path through marriage (as many EU citizens discovered at their expense post-referendum). There is a spouse visa that can lead to ILR and then an application for citizenship.

    Unless for Royals it is different…

    • DC Cliche says:

      Given the American tax laws (basically, her marrying into the family would allow the IRS — and by extension the government — to see tons of information about the BRF’s wealth) I imagine they’re going a slightly expedited route.

    • Mahi says:

      I’ve just applied – I held a five year ancestry visa (can’t recall the cost), then ILR for two years (£1,500), attended a Life in the UK test (£50 cost), and have just paid £1,202 for naturalisation. I will be invited to an interview within the next three months, and will have to provide biometric data. I’ve been told to expect the process to take up to twelve months. I’m also applying from the Channel Islands which makes the process slightly more convuluted (in Britain, but not the UK). Edited to add I’ve had to provide all my tax details, periods spent outside Britain, work history, etc. Not sure how I’d feel having to pay tax to HRMC and find out there’s a different process…

      TL;DR – it’s not cheap and it’s not quick

  9. Nicole says:

    I don’t really see what’s wrong with this? I don’t think it’s anything unusual to expect she is taking finishing lessons, lessons for citizenship and ones for protocol. Frankly I would side eye them if they left her to the wolves. She was a low tier celeb it’s not like she would know all this stuff.

    • Bea says:

      I agree but an American celebrity with a higher profile would need the lessons as well.

    • magnoliarose says:

      It doesn’t matter where she is on the rung of celebrity she would need the same lessons. Lower tier celebrities can be more intelligent and sophisticated than an A-lister.

      • Nicole says:

        I meant it as a way of its not as if she was walking big red carpets and stuff where she would know how to handle paps and such. Not that she’s less intelligent. I think she’s very smart. However unless you grew up in the UK i would think this is all new so I’m not surprised.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Ahhh I see. Good point.
        My UK cousins love to tease, and we tease them back, but it is all in good fun. Scotland loses me completely. It is beautiful country but the slang and sometimes the accent either makes me want to giggle because it is so cute or parrot what they are saying because it sounds like a song. Or I have no idea what they are saying at all is the accent is verra thick.

    • SoulSPA says:

      Anyone who enters a royal family should receive proper training. It’s not like you can go to a royal school training course. The respective RF should provide specific training on protocol, etiquette, dealing with media, elocution, some acting, a bit on foreign relations. And have some sort of a mentoring system. There is nothing wrong with that. For British and foreigners alike. But no matter how good the teachers are, if the student doesn’t do enough effort and spend enough time, show willingness and motivation, they won’t have good results.

    • Numi says:

      I’ll go further – it helps social cohesion if ANYONE coming to another Country has these sorts of lessons, its not bigoted to hope that people moving to a Country will actually learn the cultural rules and attempt to abide by them…

      classic example – queues

  10. QueenB says:

    As far as I know Medical debt is called NHS is england.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      NHS is free. As it is free (or partially free) in some other European countries.

      You are the only ones with a medical debt, sorry, and giving billions to health insurances ;-)

      One of the reasons I didn’t renew my American visa 20 years ago and left USA was that for me it was incomprehensible to have healthcare tailored to my income or that I wouldn’t be covered by insurance for pre-existing conditions.

      • unamadridista says:

        @SilverUnicorn — I see your point, but it’s false to say it’s free when it comes out of taxpayers’ pockets. I’m from a country that has universal healthcare and everybody who is working is paying for it, even if not directly. It’s NEVER FREE and people need to stop misrepresenting it as such. That system has all kinds of problems in my country and I prefer American way personally. To each their own, but nothing is free.

      • LAK says:

        My taxes going to the NHS is something i am very happy to do. It’s not perfect, but it does a damn good job and no one is left behind.

      • SilverUnicorn says:


        Because in USA people don’t pay for taxes?

        Not having universal healthcare is also uncivil because you are taken care of only if you put in.

        What about homeless, longterm unemployed, disabled?
        Yes let’s them die if they need help, who cares.
        American friend of mine went 65k in debt because she got cancer and had lost her job as a result of the illness ; I guess the debt was inherited by her relatives because she died before paying it off.

        Sorry no. I like to pay through my taxes for a system that can help people who might have the misfortune of being in worse conditions than I am.
        Anything else is selfish.

        And yes, it’s free at the point of use, which is what matters.

        @LAK me too!

      • OriginalLala says:

        I’m Canadian and while I may grumble about the high taxes, I am actually thrilled to pay into our universal health care system, because when I need a doctor, surgery or treatment I can access that without going broke.

      • Nicole says:

        Yea not sure how anyone prefers the american system of “oops you got an illness now you’re broke and poor on top of sick AND you can get kicked off insurance!”
        Seriously who prefers that system. Because most americans do not

      • Levin says:

        unamadridista, it’s easy to say you prefer the American way when you actually have universal healthcare elsewhere. For one person, monthly premiums cost half of my mortgage, it provides really poor coverage, and we still all pay plenty of taxes. Every system will have its problems, but USA has *no* healthcare. It’s the effing worst.

      • Person3514 says:

        I give major side eye and a big why to anyone who says they prefer our healthcare system(more like nonexistent system) to a universal system. My husband recently lost his job, so we lost our health insurance. They sent a letter saying that we could continue our coverage, but that we could be charged up to 102% of what our premium was. Sure enough it would have been over $1,000.00 a month for our coverage. That’s more than my rent. My husband lost his job and your solution is to increase costs? Needless to say we don’t have health insurance now, so hopefully nothing happens. Even when we had it an emergency room visit for my husband cost us a bit over $700. My daughter has a developmental delay, requires glasses and braces for her legs. Thank whatever she had Medicaid as a secondary insurance or else I’d have filed for bankruptcy before 30. My son had torticollis and required a helmet to fix the shape of his head. We had to pay 2k out of pocket to get it because insurance required a prescrption from a nuerosurgeon and a 6 month daily log of us recording what we were doing to try to make him not keep his head turned one way. By the time he would have gotten the helmet the prime time for skull growth would have ended and the helmet wouldnt have been as effective. Our system is shit. I hate it with a passion. If I could leave the US I would do so in a heartbeat. The amount of time and frustration I’ve had to deal with because of insurance and our healthcare system is disgusting. F*** this system.

      • unamadridista says:

        @SilverUnicorn — no need to be defensive; I wasn’t trying to start a debate. Just pointing out a fact that you’re wrong to say something is free when it’s not. If my friend pays for my lunch, it may be free to me, but it’s still not free. That’s all. Yes, I know in USA we pay taxes, as I’m a citizen now with an American husband. No need for snark simply for pointing out your mistake. Again, not arguing which system is better as I’ve lived under different systems and seen problems with both. I do have a preference but that’s only because I like American system over Russian one. If you had lived in my country you’d see why and that universal healthcare is not humane or anything like UK’s, Canada’s, Sweden’s, or other Western country’s.

        @Levin, Person3514, et al — Major assumptions here. Why? I only pointed out one fact and one personal preference. No, it’s not easy to state that, as I don’t have Russia’s healthcare to fall back on. As a dissident writer, I left the country and have no plans to be back. I don’t know what would happen if I did go back. No need for side eye either, if you had lived in Russia, you would understand, but I think your positive view comes from thinking of universal healthcare in Western countries. When people say universal healthcare, everyone assumes it’s like Canada’s or UK’s or that of Scandinavian nation’s but in my country it was so awful and unless you lived in Moscow or St. Petersburg, or comparable major city, you didn’t receive any decent care. So it’s like having no healthcare, but being promised that you do since you pay into it. I have too many horror stories to fit into one reply, but some of it goes like this:

        * One hour for ambulance to come for my mother’s uncle after we told them his age. That never happened in the States when my father had a heart attack.

        * When I was teething, the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and tried to inject me with something. My mother made them stop because they couldn’t tell her what it was for or what medication was in the syringe. Who administers medicine when they don’t even know what it’s for??? That’s how incompetent the doctor’s in my district were. A pediatrician in Moscow told my mother what was really wrong with me. If anyone wants good medical care spend your own money to go to a closest major city and pay again for being seen out of district. Not fair that a system that promises to cover everybody with everybody’s contributions is not doing it and you have to pay yourself.

        * Elderly relative died in a provincial hospital for a routine procedure due to negligence and incompetence. Nothing happened to his care providers and no answers were given to our family. The law can’t even intervene, because there’s always a chance of anyone dying for any reason for any procedure is what they basically told us.

        I know American way is not perfect, but after Russian system, I’m happy with the care I’m getting in the States. If I had experienced a different system, like in Scandinavian countries, then I’d probably wouldn’t like what I have now. However, as it is, American way works for me way better than Russian system. It doesn’t mean it works that way for everybody and I never argued that it would. I only simply corrected a commenter on one fact.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I hope I got that right.

        Thanks for the perspective. That sounds like a nightmare. The last of my relatives from Russia and the former USSR came to America and Europe long ago in the 70s. The first intrepid soul, a long-ago uncle left after the Revolution. My relative married someone who came later, and you reminded me to be grateful instead of complaining sometimes.
        There are problems but nothing like what you endured.
        I am glad you are ok, being a dissident and safe.

      • Levin says:

        Unamadridista – you are right, those assumptions were unfair given that we are in the Western world sharing a Western perspective, which is not a clear picture of healthcare planet-wide.

        However (and I hesitate to continue because I am definitely not into Oppression Olympics or minimizing your point), depending on where you live in the US, all of those things you listed happen here, too. I’ve called an ambulance precisely twice in my life (for other people), and an hour sounds about right. My father died in front of me from medical negligence and I had no recourse. If I, as you stated, lived in a major city, some of this might be different.

        People die here all of the time because they can’t afford medication, people die here all of the time because they can’t afford regular checkups and only find out they have cancer when it’s too late. As the supposed richest and most powerful nation, this is disgusting and I will never have a nice word to say about “healthcare” here. There is none.

  11. Here or There says:

    As an American expat living in the UK, I use whatever I want. People are smart enough to know what I mean. That said, I do avoid pants and now say trousers…because if I don’t my immature nephews giggle too much.

  12. Liberty says:

    A NYC agency I worked with was enduring some blowback from a British client about their use of English in some PR pieces. As the blowback increased, I gave them three further pieces to submit.

    When the next “impossible, too American,” came in, I made a private call to the British president of the firm. I explained I’d accidentally had the assistant submit three pieces the British president had written herself, from our research file. When she realized what she had been doing – damning because American – she was gracious enough to apologize to the team.(Tidbit: the usual writer was English, Oxford educated,, though the president didn’t know that.) And she was far more open to the work from that point on, no further shaming, just normal content discussions and tweaks. The distinction was made between true differences to note, and expectation of failure.

    Best luck to Meghan in her lessons.

  13. Adele Dazeem says:

    I’m an American and I say “slow news day at the Mirror, clearly.”

    • RedOnTheHead says:

      THIS! It’s going to be a very long year of mind numbing “news” articles every time Meghan uses an American English term. Quelle scandal!

    • Skylark says:

      It’s not even the Daily Mirror, the source for this nonsense is the Daily Star! Which is, at best, a comic and just about the last ‘newspaper’ in the world a royal source would be sharing palace doings with!

    • magnoliarose says:

      It does seem like a silly story.

      With my older family members, it is a restroom or even facilities. It is rude to announce what you are doing in there. You never under any circumstances say P. Tinkle or powder my nose. No. If we are eating or drinking, you simply excuse yourself. No need to announce where you are going or worse what you are going to do when you get there. My in-laws and older family members aren’t native Americans and are very formal people and have very firm ideas about what is acceptable socially and what is not. You would never know you did anything “wrong” because they wouldn’t let on because it is more important that guests feel welcome. They expect US to know better though. And if someone later said something snide about the person that made the mistake THAT person would earn the verbal set down.

      Social graces are important to know if someone is in formal situations often or around people with different sensibilities. I like to joke around, but etiquette is about showing respect for those around you. Not as much about appearing overly snobbish if it is done correctly. You want to make others comfortable not less so. So it is in poor taste to point out when someone makes a faux pas. That is worse than the faux pas. That is a reflection of the person looking down their nose more than it is about the person who simply made a mistake or was raised differently.

      Your example is perfect. It is far worse to shame than it is to explain the need for some corrections politely without condescension. I don’t like when someone does that someone else. There is no need to make anyone feel small or ignorant.

  14. Petty Riperton says:

    Too bad Henry doesn’t love her enough to give up his royal privileges and title. They could live a somewhat normal life and she wouldn’t have to deal with such nitpicking and crap.

  15. Tea says:

    Speaking of the way Brits and Americans speak, aluminium and aluminum-I’ve read the ‘um’ and not ‘ium; is the technically correct way to say it?
    There’s also Van-Goff instead of Van-Go for Van Gogh, bnut I believe the ‘goff’ is probably the correct way?
    Lots of good and interesting differences.

  16. Mumbles says:

    I had heard that the palace set disdained Kate at first because she used the word “toilet” instead of “lavatory.”

    As for her accent, it would be weird if she changed it. I wonder if all those American heiresses sent in as capital infusion to the big estates (think Lady Cora in Downton Abbey) changed their accents.

  17. Carey says:

    Crass American here. What’s wrong with the word panties?

  18. perplexed says:

    Some of these lessons don’t seem hard to master — saying “trousers” instead of “pants.” Big whoop. So if she has to take them I don’t see a problem. Honestly, these lessons don’t seem hard. Even the rest of us could master this, regardless of nationality. She probably likes learning a new character anyway since she’s an actress.

  19. Regina Falangie says:

    My husband’s coworker is from the UK and the word he uses to express frustration is “tits”. It makes my husband giggle every time.

  20. Chaine says:

    I agree with the poster above who said “trousers” are what old men wear in the US. I think I would say “slacks” to describe a woman wearing “pants” other than jeans.

  21. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    Her fiance thought it was fun to dress like a Nazi at a party. So I don’t think Megan is the one who needs “etiquette” lessons, but whatever. Hopefully she will school THEM on proper etiquette, like how to put the knife down after cutting a few pieces of food, and using the fork in the correct direction (that way you don’t have to “mash” the food onto an upside-down fork to keep it from falling off, while you shovel the food into your mouth as fast as possible).

  22. Missy says:

    British culture includes language and certain fashion standards and hairdressing standards for official royal duties. I see nothing wrong in demanding that Markle sticks to that.

  23. Jumpingthesnark says:

    I don’t give a crap if she says pants rod trousers or whatever, but I’d freaking love it if she popped out with “blimey, I’m knackered!!”

  24. KicktheSticks says:

    Oh please. She IS American and she should be ‘allowed’ to use our words. Probably after a time she will change those words out of habit but we do not need to erase this woman’s American-ness. Besides, I doubt Meghan will be having to tell ANYONE to take out the trash. Someone will be doing it for her without being asked LOL

  25. Anare says:

    I read how Megan recently referred to scones using the more British or Scottish pronunciation and I sort of cringed. I don’t want her to lose her American accent.