Author Topic: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?  (Read 12360 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2011, 04:27:42 PM »
But... still seems irrelevant to me. Who cares? It's not like we (Canadians) don't know that William is a prince. It seems pointless to indicate someone is not royalty/a peer/married to royalty or a peer. That is the default for humans.

But it is quite interesting because this is the first time a direct heir to the British throne has married a commoner. All previous marriages that I'm aware of*  have been to members of the nobility. So this interesting in an end to classism kind of way.

*I'm not sure about Mrs Simpson, but he lost the throne by marrying her, so it's not the same.
Actually, you're right. This is interesting. As you mentioned with Wallis Simpson, King Edward VIII had to abdicate the throne to marry her. Prince William is still the heir, though unlike Wallis Simpson, Catherine is British. (Does that make a difference?)

Something else interesting is it's in the works (not sure how far along) to change the rules determining who is the next heir (not sure of the word for that) from first any boy, second, the eldest to simply the eldest child. (If Queen Elizabeth II had had any brothers, she would not be the queen even though she's the oldest. This is the rule that people are thinking about changing.)

She was Lady Diana Spencer before marrying Charles.

Exactly. To me, Diana was born into the peerage and therefore not a commoner.

I don't see the word commoner in a bad light - it simply means she's not of the peerage to me - but it would be quite another thing if the Middletons were called chavs (or poor white trash in US).
Well, I doubt anyone would call them that, they are absolutely loaded. ;D But I take your (and this thread's) point about commoner being a neutral word (though I admit it still seems strange to mention it. Doesn't the lack of fancy title already indicate that one is a commoner?).

Lady Diana was not a commoner. Her father was the 8th earl/viscount of Spencer.
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

violinp

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3630
  • cabbagegirl28's my sister :)
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2011, 04:35:09 PM »
Wallis Simpson was a divorcee. Edward could not keep his right to rule if he married her.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5724
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2011, 04:37:25 PM »
I think it was the fact that Wallis was divorced that made him have to abdicate the throne, rather than her being a commoner. I mention her because she would have been the first commoner to marry an heir to the throne (or actually the throne), but instead it's Katherine.

supernova

  • thanks for all the fish
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2300
  • dancing alone
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2011, 04:40:17 PM »
I think it was the fact that Wallis was divorced that made him have to abdicate the throne, rather than her being a commoner. I mention her because she would have been the first commoner to marry an heir to the throne (or actually the throne), but instead it's Katherine.

Yep.  We touched on that in another thread -- Wallis was not only twice divorced, but had a (former) husband still living -- and Edward was instrumental in the sundering of her marriage, which the C of E does not take kindly to.  Since the head of the C of E can't marry outside the C of E, he kinda had to pick one or the other.  (Not to mention that the possibility of the production of an heir between Edward and Wallis was pretty much nil at that point, but that's never been cited as an official reason.)

Nibsey

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1444
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2011, 04:41:43 PM »
I think it was the fact that Wallis was divorced that made him have to abdicate the throne, rather than her being a commoner. I mention her because she would have been the first commoner to marry an heir to the throne (or actually the throne), but instead it's Katherine.

Actually I think Elizabeth Woodville was the first commoner to marry a King, (Edward IV) wasn't she?
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”- Douglas Adams
Éire (Ireland)

supernova

  • thanks for all the fish
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2300
  • dancing alone
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2011, 04:45:23 PM »
Elizabeth Woodville was the daughter of an Earl, and the widow of a knight (which at minimum would have made her a Lady).  I believe she was referred to as "the widow Lady Grey" at some point.


VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13146
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2011, 04:53:07 PM »
Wallis Simpson was a divorcee. Edward could not keep his right to rule if he married her.
She may also have been a Catholic (and a Catholic divorcee at that time was REALLY scandalous) and had been known to make comments in support of Hitler and his party in Germany - in other words - NOBODY wanted her near the British throne for a number of reasons that seemed excellent at the time (looking back - the Hitler thing would be enough for many people today even if the other two no longer seemed to make much sense to the 21st century).

Was there a delicate hint in a previous post that Wallis would NOT have been able to produce an heir to the throne?  Which is about 99% of the basic job description for a queen consort, as I understand history (look at what Henry the VIII put six women through to have ONE living son and two living daughters.......and a whole lot of miscarriages.........).
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 04:55:42 PM by VorFemme »
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Nanny Ogg

  • The Shrinking Lady!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1177
    • For Your Paws
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2011, 04:55:09 PM »
It's not rude, but it is classist. But as it's been mentioned, Britain does have a class based society, so it's alright. Everyone in Britain without a title is a commoner, and so covers the middle and lower classes. We make up the common people - the majority.

It's in line with our political system with the two houses - the house of commons (elected MPs) and the house of lords who are hereditary peers/church leaders.



Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2011, 05:00:27 PM »
Nanny Ogg, we have a House of Commons too but the etymology of the name never occurred to me. Very interesting. (No House of Lords here though.) Isn't there some sort of reform happening with the House of Lords right now?

Edit: So it is classist? Nanny Ogg, I think you're the only Brit in this thread?
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 05:02:03 PM by Nurvingiel »
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

Nibsey

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1444
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2011, 05:01:29 PM »
Elizabeth Woodville was the daughter of an Earl, and the widow of a knight (which at minimum would have made her a Lady).  I believe she was referred to as "the widow Lady Grey" at some point.

Apparently she was still a commoner, hence the scandal at the time. I'm loath to use wiki as a source but I don't want to get up and find the source in one of my history books on the princes in the tower. But she had the title of Lady so I can't figure out why she was considered a commoner.  ???

Wiki: As the daughter of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers, she was the first commoner to marry an English sovereign.
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”- Douglas Adams
Éire (Ireland)

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9015
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2011, 05:24:18 PM »
Elizabeth Woodville was the daughter of an Earl, and the widow of a knight (which at minimum would have made her a Lady).  I believe she was referred to as "the widow Lady Grey" at some point.

Apparently she was still a commoner, hence the scandal at the time. I'm loath to use wiki as a source but I don't want to get up and find the source in one of my history books on the princes in the tower. But she had the title of Lady so I can't figure out why she was considered a commoner.  ???

Wiki: As the daughter of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers, she was the first commoner to marry an English sovereign.

I think Rivers may have gotten Earl'd after his daughter married the king. Edited to add: I also think Elizabeth was Lady Elizabeth, at least in part, because she was a knight's widow rather nthan because of her parentage.

Nanny Ogg

  • The Shrinking Lady!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1177
    • For Your Paws
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2011, 05:34:11 PM »
Nanny Ogg, we have a House of Commons too but the etymology of the name never occurred to me. Very interesting. (No House of Lords here though.) Isn't there some sort of reform happening with the House of Lords right now?

Edit: So it is classist? Nanny Ogg, I think you're the only Brit in this thread?

Yup, I'm probably the only Brit in the thread cos the rest of the e hell Brits are enjoying street parties and going down the pub to celebrate the wedding!! We've just got back from my sisters street party- it was brilliant, union jack bunting, red white and blue cakes, cucumber sandwiches, and more Pimms than you can shake a stick at (pimms is THE British summertime drink, hands down. You mix it with lemonade and put chopped cucumber, mint, apple and strawberries in it) All the girls were wearing their "it could have been me" t shirts... And we all went ahhhhhh when they kissed!

Anyway, commoner is classist, but not in a "wrong" way. It's really hard to explain, but it just means "not a toff", and is a term for the majority of the queens subjects. Its a descriptor rather than a word with negative associations - sort of how my doctor could call me obese and sadly be factual, but if she called me a chunky monkey with thunder thighs I'd be getting outta my pram!

I guess if you take the word back, commoner = common = everyday, which is what commoner means "the every day man". I think "common" became an insult around the time that the middle class expanded, and they misused the context of the word to mean an insult ("that's so common", "a common trollop" etc). Common in this context and commoner are very different indeed. If you want to call someone in the UK common these days, you'd call them a Chav or a Ned.

No idea about the house of commons- with the Con-Dem coalition government, theres a large amount of policy reform going through and it's difficult to keep abreast of it. The most interesting political thing happening is the referendum on the first past the post voting system, with the hope to change to the AV system. That's a bit off topic though.



P-p-p-penguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1528
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2011, 05:40:45 PM »
I'm an ehell Brit!  No street parties for me, don't know any of my neighbours and I was meant to be studying but the unexpected excitement kind of interrupted those plans...

I should say I don't know much about the monarchy and peerage but think I might make that a summer task.

Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2011, 05:41:47 PM »
Nanny Ogg, I have learned a lot from your post (for one thing, I would like to try Pimms). (Your sister's party sounds awesome BTW.)

The only thing I don't get is... isn't classism always bad?

Or do you mean that it's classist in the sense that it pointedly indicates someone's class, but that there is no negativity associated with someone's class.
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

Nibsey

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1444
Re: The phrase "a commoner"... isn't this rude?
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2011, 05:43:20 PM »
Elizabeth Woodville was the daughter of an Earl, and the widow of a knight (which at minimum would have made her a Lady).  I believe she was referred to as "the widow Lady Grey" at some point.

Apparently she was still a commoner, hence the scandal at the time. I'm loath to use wiki as a source but I don't want to get up and find the source in one of my history books on the princes in the tower. But she had the title of Lady so I can't figure out why she was considered a commoner.  ???

Wiki: As the daughter of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers, she was the first commoner to marry an English sovereign.

I think Rivers may have gotten Earl'd after his daughter married the king. Edited to add: I also think Elizabeth was Lady Elizabeth, at least in part, because she was a knight's widow rather nthan because of her parentage.

Ah that makes sense, thanks.  :)
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”- Douglas Adams
Éire (Ireland)