Princess Charlotte ‘speaks some Spanish’ because of the Spanish nanny Maria

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge started nursery school on Monday, January 8th. Much like George at that age, I get the feeling that Charlotte is a handful – very outgoing, talkative, opinionated, etc. I get the feeling/vibe that George has “settled down” a bit as he’s gotten older, perhaps even gotten a bit more shy. But Charlotte is a little princess, and she seems to still be at the “no mommy, I’m going to do THIS!” phase. That confidence is great to see, and it speaks well of how William and Kate are raising their kids. Don’t forget Nanny Maria’s influence either – according to People Magazine’s sources, Nanny Maria is teaching Charlotte some Spanish!

When Princess Charlotte started preschool this week, her confidence was clear to all who saw her adorable first-day-of-school photos. And even when she’s not posing for her mom’s camera, that princess sparkle shines through.

“She’s very sweet and very confident — she’s always chatting away,” says a source in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. The 2-year-old, who turns 3 in May, “is so polite, but also fun and energetic,” says the source, adding, “She has beautiful manners.”

The talkative toddler has another talent, too: She speaks some Spanish. Nanny Maria Turrion Borrallo is from Spain.

Parents Kate Middleton and Prince William hand-picked Willcocks Nursery School for their daughter. “They chose that nursery because they thought it would be an ideal first step for Charlotte’s education, and they were impressed by the team who work there,” says a royal source. While Charlotte’s big brother, 4-year-old Prince George, heads across the city to Thomas’s in Battersea, Charlotte’s $12,000-a-year school is just a stone’s throw from the family’s London home, Kensington Palace. Charlotte is attending every day, royal sources say.

There, she finds a gentle, welcoming environment. “It is friendly and quiet,” says the mother of a former pupils. “They have a lovely time, and all the mothers are really positive about it.”

[From People]

Here in America, I think Spanish is the most common second language. It’s considered a good thing here, to simply have multilingual children, regardless of which languages they know. There are so many Spanish-speaking parents in America – and, quite honestly, Spanish-speaking nannies – that kids end up absorbing the language at a young age. Which is great – kids are sponges, and it’s easier to learn other languages at a young age. That being said, is this frowned-upon in British royal circles? Surely, British princesses should learn French, not Spanish! But wait… doesn’t William speak some limited Spanish too? Hm. In any case, VAMOS Charlotte. Be the royal rule-breaker!

Update: I apologize if asking a question about royal children’s second languages was offensive. I truly didn’t know – and I still don’t know – if royal children are supposed to learn specific “second languages” and if certain languages are “frowned upon” within the Windsor family. The family is so stuffy and there are all of these rules about languages. Like, the Queen knows some German but she’ll never speak German in public. She knows French and she’ll speak French in public. That was what I was asking – which languages are “acceptable” within the family?

Photos courtesy of the Kensington Royal Instagram.

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71 Responses to “Princess Charlotte ‘speaks some Spanish’ because of the Spanish nanny Maria”

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  1. Clare says:

    Why would speaking Spanish be frowned upon? I think Spanish and German are both quite popular as second languages taken in school.
    Sure speaking French is considered more posh, but there is a whole history behind being frowned upon (hello, history, Waterloo…war’…but the truly wealthy learn Latin at school.

    • When I was in high school all the cool kids took Spanish, especially the boys. French was considered prescious and too academic. We were told we would never use it lol.

  2. From Spain says:

    No, it is not frowned upon in any circle. Many royals speak Spanish and are from Spanish speaking countries. That comment leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Renee2 says:

      I think that the author is conflating Latinos with Spaniards, and is thinking about how specifically many Mexicans and Central Americans are regarded by white people in the US and is applying that to Spain. Lots of English people vacation, have second homes, and or retire to Spain so I don’t think that they largely hold demeaning attitudes towards actual Spanish culture or Spain overall.

      • Cee says:

        @From Spain – Yeah, I’m insulted. Our geographic region usually means we’re to be demeaned especially when we dare speak spanish. I was once called a nasty racial slur while in Philadelphia just because some guy overheard me speaking on the phone with my mother, while I was a TOURIST in their city.

      • Renee2 says:

        @ From Spain,

        To be clear, I do not condone the disparaging of any Spanish speaking country or culture!!! I apologize if that wasn’t clear from my remarks. I am pointing out what I have observed from living in London and in the States (I am Canadian). I don’t think that Kaiser meant to say something disparaging about Spanish speakers either, but I agree that it did not come across well, and I honestly think she was looking at what she has observed where she lives and applied it to the UK and BRF.

      • Cranberry says:


    • Mumbles says:

      Agreed, Jacqueline Bouvier was raised as a debutante with a posh education but spoke fluent Spanish and Italian, in addition to French.

  3. thaisajs says:

    My daughter’s daycare offers both French and Spanish lessons during the year, which has been fabulous. (They do French in the fall and Spanish in the spring.) I wish I had learned Spanish in school instead of German.

  4. Cee says:

    Why would spanish be frowned upon??? If Charlotte manages to be bilingual by the time she is a pre-adolescent, it will be more than either parent ever accomplished.

    • mira belle says:

      Cee – I’m sorry/embarrassed you were treated that way here in the US. Spanish is a beautiful language. Next time come to CA, please :)

    • Crimson says:

      @Cee… The guy who insulted you was simply ingnorant. My guess is his insulting you had more to do with his feeling inferior because he did not speak Spanish, and he had to make himself feel better. A pity for him. Living in the southwest I am thankful both my sons learned Spanish from 5th grade on, and they continued through high school and part of college.

  5. ELX says:

    When William was young the family vacationed with their Spanish cousins pretty much every summer, of course it’s not frowned on.

  6. Petty Riperton says:

    I thought royals are suppose to be able to speak multiple languages. I know most of the other European royal families can.

  7. OSTONE says:

    Why would it be frowned upon to speak Spanish? Because we aren’t mostly blonde and blue eyed like the French? Peculiar comment, because living in the Southeastern United States, sometimes I do feel judged by speaking Spanish in public.

  8. Leducduswaz says:

    When I was a kid, my best friend was a Greek kid, and his little brother was looked after by a Zulu nanny. No one could ever understand what he was saying because he used English, Greek and Zulu in the same sentence and no one else spoke all three languages. That happens quite often in South Africa, but it’s usually English and Afrikaans, or multiple Vernacular Languages that get mixed. Maybe Charlotte will start talking about great-grandpa being mucho loco, and then the fun will start…

    • SoulSPA says:

      Love it love it love it!

    • graymatters says:

      Prince Phillip once said that that was how he was raised, with a mixture of German, French, English, and Greek. He said that at the dinner table, someone would start a sentence in one language, end it in a second, and be answered in a third.

      When they announced the Spanish Nanny Maria, I hoped that the kids would grow up bilingual. I think it’s great.

      And to everyone who has been insulted by an American, I apologize on their behalf. I had no idea how many nasty people lived here until recently. We aren’t all like that.

  9. minx says:

    That’s great, it’s so good for kids to pick up languages at a very young age. Wish I had.

  10. Rapunzel says:

    If she calls QEII her abuelita, I’m here for it.

    • Annie says:

      HAHHAHAHA…best comment!

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      I’ll bet she is a quick study for things like, “Dame mas galletas, por favor!!” That’s some good motivation, lol!

    • Reece says:

      OMG YES!!! lol

      She’ll be better educated than her parents seem to be so more yaaaaasss…

      • JennI says:

        That seems a bit mean. Both went to very good schools and St. Andrews is an excellent university (and while one can never be sure if William got in on merit, Kate definitely did because at that time she was just another random girl). Just because they don’t seem overly curious doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t smart or weren’t well educated

      • Jessica says:

        If Charles and Diana cared enough about Harry and William knowing another language they would be fluent in French (or German or Spanish). Thankfully Will and Kate care; Meghan is fluent in Spanish and will probably teach her kids Spanish and/or French as well. Anyway, all four adults received excellent college prep education and 3 of them attended well regarded universities.

  11. Nicole says:

    Everyone I know from the UK actually learned spanish. Spanish translates across continents and regularly used in a lot of fields. Not saying Charlotte won’t learn french later but from my friends’ experiences Spanish was a pretty popular class to take

    • Clare says:

      Really? Everyone you know from the UK? I know a handful of people who speak Spanish…but most British people don’t speak a second language, and when they do its sort of an even spread of French, German and Spanish. I’m genuinely shocked that you would say that.

      • Nicole says:

        Everyone I’ve come into contact with yes. I actually work with two people from the UK now fluent in spanish and french. One is also fluent in dutch. One of my friends speaks spanish and german. Go figure.
        Not saying they JUST speak spanish but that they all did. I was shocked too because I assumed french would be the preferred language but who am I to question it?
        Also obviously this is a personal (and therefore) very small sample size

    • spidee!! says:

      @nicole as a Brit I can tell you that we are bad at languages and for several years kids weren’t even forced to learn the second language at school. I did Latin (a long time ago, it isn’t offered very widely now) and had a choice between French and German. Unfortunately I did French because I was not very good at it but much better at Latin and I think German would have suited me better. Spanish wasn’t on offer when I was at school but nowadays it is much more widespread.

      I did learn Italian at evening classes 18 years ago for about six years but I didn’t find it easy although the pronunciation is much easier than French.

      Hope this is informative for you.

      • Nicole says:

        I never even knew that you guys considered yourself “bad” at languages! Learn something new all the time

      • Tina says:

        Oh we’re rubbish at languages. Even compared to Irish people, who tend to be good at them.

    • magnoliarose says:

      Brits are nearly as bad as Americans with the second languages. American’s may have an edge only because we have more second-generation immigrants not because it is heavily taught in schools.

    • Dave says:

      We are famous for it.

  12. Mina says:

    William speaks Spanish and he’s visited and worked in South America. I doubt it’s frowned upon.

  13. monsy says:

    Why would it be frowned upon to speak Spanish?!!
    Do you know what it should be frowned upon?
    A country that elected Donald Trump as their President.

  14. FLORC says:

    Silly article. It’s perfectly fine. She’s adorable too. The trick to this will be to keep using it. Or so much will be forgotten.

  15. Sam the pink says:

    It’s not shocking that she can pick up Spanish. Kids at that age are absolute sponges who can pick up words with amazing speed. I never formally learned German (save for watching a few Muzzy videos) but I picked it up from my mother and I’ve been fluent just about as long as I can recall. My husband is the same way.

    All my kids speak passable German because I teach it. But my youngest (who is 2) spends a ton of time with my husband’s dad (the older two go to school). His dad retired recently and likes having that role. So now my youngest can chatter away in Punjabi, something neither of the other two can do, nor can I.

  16. SoulSPA says:

    I salute everyone who at least tries to learn a new language. I’m all for it. Everyone. No distinction of colour, creed, country and so on. All languages are beautiful in their own right.

    But is it only Charlotte who learns Spanish from super nanny Maria? I can’t recall reading something similar about the future King. Erm.

    • Cee says:

      Maybe George has no interest in it. I could speak english by the age of two. My siblings couldn’t and only spoke it once they were enrolled at british kindergartens.

      • SoulSPA says:

        Good for you, @Cee! I could not even speak my own native language at the age of two (sad face). Ok, only a little bit. For all I know maybe George speaks some Spanish too. Plays tennis like a pro. IDK, all this talk about those cuties. No wonder their parents want to protect them as much as they can.

      • Cee says:

        I could talk from a very early age but being bilingual kind of set me back with reading, I could read in english by the age of 5 but I remember being almost 7 when I finally managed to read in spanish (my first language!). I can remember the first thing I read, I was kind of ashamed everyone else in class could read fluently and I could only “read” my full name.

        I really hope Charlotte continues absorbing spanish – then she will be able to learn other languages as well. And yes, for all we know George speaks as much spanish as his sister does.

      • FLORC says:

        There’s such benefit to understanding other languages. My mother was fluent in 4. She spoke with all of them to keep myself and my brother sharp. Writing and conversation structures are equally important.
        Also, some studies claim knowing at least 1 other language can help with dementia.

  17. littlemissnaughty says:

    I don’t know that it would be frowned upon in any European country in any circle – royal or peasant – to speak a second language. Any second language. I would say it is always considered an asset.

  18. Merritt says:

    I think it is good that Princess Charlotte is learning Spanish. Many other royal children speak multiple languages, the British Royal children should do the same.

  19. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Charlotte is looking more like TQ these days, than Carole M. In past months, she appeared to be a pretty even hybrid of both. To me, she now definitely favors Elizabeth.

  20. homeslice says:

    Learning a second language can only be good…and this girl is just a little doll :)

  21. Molly says:

    I always think it’s such a shame to grow up with bi-lingual parents or caretakers and NOT learn that language as a child. It’s so much harder to learn as an adult.

  22. Lainey says:

    Seeing as William and Kate can’t speak anything other than English, thank God for Nanny Maria starting this from a young age.

    • Jay says:

      William speaks a bit of Spanish and Kate a bit of French. And lots of people are monolingual, so it’s hardly a big deal that they don’t have a second language

      • Nic919 says:

        In theory William should know French since it is an official language of Canada, where he may be future head of state. He is pretty bad at it though.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Some of our Canadian PMs have had weak French skills, so …

      • Kelly says:

        @Nic919, does Charles speak Welsh?

      • magnoliarose says:

        He should know another language. I don’t understand royals not being educated in several languages.
        My kids speak three languages including English. They are learning other languages just from relatives and formally in school but one is the language their father is fluent in, and I am not. I learned French, Hebrew, Spanish and German but I can speak some Italian and Russian. And of course Yiddish from my older relatives.
        If a child grows up in a multilingual household and one is a Romance language, and one is Germanic the others come fast. My parents are multilingual.

        My oldest daughter takes Chinese because she wanted to learn. It is adorable. Her best friend is the daughter of our friends from China, and she just loves it.

  23. DOROTEA123 says:

    I live in Tampa and I only speak spanish to my daughters who understand everything but answer in english. In public places I only speak english to them, as well to my other fellow latinos, as I have had few bad experiences during the last year (from Trumpeteers I guess) who have told me in my face (to my and my fellow latinos) Don’t speak spanish, this is America, speak english. One of those incidents was at work (while I was taking to my puerto rican co worker) and at a Networking event (when I was talking to a Venezuelan and a Cuban)

    • Crimson says:

      @DOROTEA123, I apologize to you on behalf of civil, courteous Americans for the bad experiences you’ve had. Funny thing is, those people who made your life miserable probably have ancestors who immigrated from other countries to the U.S. long ago, spoke their native language upon arrival, and kept speaking it even after they assimilated.

    • magnoliarose says:

      That is ugly and uncalled for, but I understand.
      My Russian relatives were always aware of their accents and speaking during the Cold War.

      I would say don’t let them stop you but they are truly insane people, and I wouldn’t want you or your children to be harmed.
      Spanish is a lovely language, and I like being able to make speakers who are new to America feel welcomed by speaking with them and learning some new words from their regions.

    • graymatters says:

      In Texas, where I’m from (though no longer live there) German immigrants were so numerous, they just created new towns for themselves and many of them never bothered to learn English. During WWI, they faced a great deal of hostility from their neighbors and when the Zimmerman telegram was leaked it turned to violence. That was the end of German-speaking Americans.

      The alt-right has spent years creating a sense of victimhood among the established white American population. I’m embarrassed for my country that they’re supporting fascist-like behavior based on those lies. We have the evils of our history to show us just how bad it could get.

  24. Macko says:

    Raising a bi or tri lingual kid is sooo much fun. We are living in Hungary, but my husband is german. We speak at home german and I speak german to my son. My mom and other relatives hungarian and hubby english. My son will be 2 soon so he is just started to speak and he mix and mach as he pleases. It is so much fun. I really have to listen carefully because I never know is he trying to say something in hungarian, german or english?

  25. happy girl says:

    The entire Royal Family must speak/understand at least a little French, as all menus for state dinners, banquets, weddings, christenings etc. are always printed in French with no translation.
    Been that way for hundreds of years.

  26. Jessica says:

    Good for the little cutie and her nanny! My languages after English were German and Latin. I took a 2 hour conversational Spanish class and should stuck with it since it is the most practical other language to have in my area of the US. My mom’s two languages were also German and Latin. She’s a grade school teacher so took part of the Spanish sequence at a local college. Very helpful!

    • magnoliarose says:

      Spanish is very helpful. This is why I hate this nativist strain at large right now because it is just ignorant. Knowing languages is part of being able to converse with more people and have access to more experiences.
      And that is not a bad thing ever.

  27. SJhere says:

    Both G and C are cute as can be! Personally I would not trade places with anyone in the public eye for all the $$ in the world. Constantly being followed/photo’d etc. is not for me.

    I would think that many of the BRF have more than one language.

    When I was small, my family spoke German at home and English in the community. I recall very little of German now, I wish I had kept it up. Learning = it’s all good. :)