But we’ll never be royals
January 11, 2019 7:44 AM   Subscribe

I’m writing a piece about royalty, and I’d like to use some cliches and colloquial expressions that evoke royalty. So far I have “to the manor born” and “king’s ransom”. What are some other cliches that evoke royalty?
posted by pxe2000 to Writing & Language (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Royal "We".
posted by cooker girl at 7:50 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

A prince among men
The sport of kings
Queen/King's English
Queen for a day
Calling people who are the best "The King" or "The King of X" (Elvis, Richard Petty)
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:51 AM on January 11

Born with a silver spoon
posted by DoubleLune at 7:58 AM on January 11

It's good to be king.
posted by dywypi at 8:00 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

posted by *becca* at 8:00 AM on January 11

Choix du roi (king's choice), which is the preferred order of children: a son first, as heir to the throne, and then a daughter who will (I assume) marry strategically into another high-born family.
posted by methroach at 8:02 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

Line them up against the wall.
posted by Madame Defarge at 8:06 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

I think the phrase was "to the manner born". There is a show "To the manor born" which I am guessing is being punny and making fun of the (VERY common error).
posted by beccaj at 8:07 AM on January 11 [10 favorites]

A princely sum.
posted by misteraitch at 8:09 AM on January 11

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
posted by frumiousb at 8:12 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

A cat may look at a King.
posted by frumiousb at 8:13 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

We serve at the pleasure of the King.
Fit for a king
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
Its good to be the king
posted by ian1977 at 8:17 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

To the manor born has been the common usage for a few generations.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 8:26 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

Noblese oblige

Kings ransom in wealth
posted by Wysawyg at 8:34 AM on January 11

The King is dead. Long live the King!

A princely sum.
posted by clawsoon at 8:38 AM on January 11

Born in the purple.
posted by timeo danaos at 8:41 AM on January 11

L'état, c'est moi
posted by alex1965 at 8:41 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

- Calling someone a "princess" to imply that they are overly fussy.
- My kingdom for a(n) X!
- King of the hill

And a little vulgar, but one I've always liked:
- King shit of fuck mountain (sometimes just "king shit")
posted by one of these days at 8:42 AM on January 11

Right of the first night/droit du seigneur.

The king of beasts.
posted by clawsoon at 8:42 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

Let them eat cake.
posted by FencingGal at 8:57 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

The crowning touch
The royal jewels/crown jewels
My kingdom for a...
posted by dywypi at 9:07 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

The Queen of Sheba (as in "Who do you think you are?")
posted by Grunyon at 9:16 AM on January 11

King's Evil and the royal touch.
posted by clawsoon at 9:23 AM on January 11

The song quote in the title refers to the Kansas City Royals- the baseball team...
posted by Patapsco Mike at 9:46 AM on January 11

Queen Bee
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
posted by tuesdayschild at 9:51 AM on January 11

Monarch of all I survey
Off with their heads!
posted by elphaba at 10:03 AM on January 11

When Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess asks, "What is a weekend?"
posted by homesickness at 10:07 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

to the manor born

This widely used contemporary misquote would not imply royalty; it would imply a person of aristocratic birth, which is the class beneath royalty. In other words, this phrase doesn't mean what you seem to want to say.

Similarly, in the original Shakespearean usage, "to the manner born," Hamlet is referring to local custom, not rank of birth.

Suggestion: The sport of Kings.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:12 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

You come at the king, you best not miss.

This widely used contemporary misquote would not imply royalty; it would imply a person of aristocratic birth, which is the class beneath royalty.

This isn't quite right; a manor is just an administrative/property unit, and in England you didn't have to be an aristocrat to hold one. In fact, a famous old historiographical debate about the prosperity of the gentry (a somewhat imprecise term but generally taken to refer to people who had some form of significant wealth or status but weren't necessarily noble) in the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century initially turned on relative counts of manorial holdings.

Still, it'd be kind of a strange thing to identify as distinctive of royalty.
posted by praemunire at 10:56 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

“Eat Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, and Dinner Like a Pauper”
posted by CiaoMela at 11:01 AM on January 11

In addition to everyone's comments, head on over to this site and punch in a bunch of royalty-related terms, to get stuff people might not otherwise come up with, such as the phrase "Hamlet without the prince."
posted by WCityMike at 11:03 AM on January 11

Lording over something/someone
Royally screwed up
The porcelain throne (for toilets)
Any sarcastic use of the phrase "Your highness" or "Excuse me, princess"
posted by helloimjennsco at 11:47 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

I'm the king of the world!

Off with their heads!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:48 AM on January 11

I read this quote in a Neil Gaiman comic years ago:
"It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the Emperor has no clothes. But a half-wit remains a half-wit; and the Emperor remains an Emperor."
posted by BigLankyBastard at 11:58 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

An heir and a spare
posted by mixedmetaphors at 1:31 PM on January 11

It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeator of the Saxons, sovereign of all England!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:54 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

FitzRoy the king's bastard

The king of kings or High King

The King sits on his throne in Dumferline Town, drinking the red, red wine

King for a day

Conquering Kings their titles take

He was most kingly dying...

Make way for the King!

King under the mountain

King of the mountain

Keys to the Kingdom

Queen of Hearts

the Virgin Queen

Bloody Mary

It began with a lass and it ends with a lass

Off with his head!

the King, the Queen and the Knave

Crown Prince

Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense

Touch me not for Caesar's am I

It little profits an idle king...

Half the kingdom and the hand of the princess in marriage

Good King Arthur and the Knights of the round table

King's Cross

A car park

Let them eat cake

the King's Guard

the Throne room

The crown

The crown jewels

Scepter and Mace

the archbishop who crowns the king

King Richard the lionhearted

My Kingdom for a horse!

For want of a nail.... the kingdom was lost!

Idylls of the King

King John's bundle, lost in the wash

magna carta and /or Runnymede

King John was not a good man

the King's Justice

Lord High Chamberlain

The King's Breakfast (I do like a little bit of butter with my bread)

The changing of the guard

The Madness of King George



Three Kings that followed a star

The Handsome Prince

The royal palace

King David

Queen of Sheba

King Solomon and his wisdom

Fili me Absolom, Absolom fili me

King Herod

The Russian royal family

Princess Anastasia and the myth that she survived


The people's princess

Poor Queen Anne

Heir to the throne

Ladies in waiting

The King's Christmas Message


No matter what you are and who, certain things we all must do/even earls much brush their curls/and even kings have underthings

From here you can see five kingdoms

Kingdom of God

Henry the Eighth and his six wives

Going to London to visit the queen
posted by Jane the Brown at 10:55 PM on January 11

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