Expert explains what Prince Harry’s shifting accent really means

It’s only been a few months since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back as senior royals and moved to the United States, but it seems that Prince Harry is already starting to lose his English accent. It’s not exactly an American accent, but it’s definitely shifting in that direction according to one expert.

Prince Harry’s new accent can be heard in a promotion for Rising Phoenix, a Netflix documentary which dives into the history of the Paralympic Games. To promote the documentary, the royal participated in a Zoom call with several Paralympians.

While Prince Harry still sounds quite English, Judi James, a body language analyst, told Express that he has “adopt[ed] the traces of an American accent when he pronounces ‘matter’ as ‘madder.'” This, according to James, is proof that the Duke of Sussex is adjusting to his new life in America and “shows signs of his immersion.”

Shifting accents are completely normal

Interestingly, Meghan’s accent was also said to be shifting when she moved to the U.K. to be with her husband. In 2018, E! News reported that royal watchers on Twitter noticed that she seemed to be losing her American accent. As we know, Meghan never lost her accent completely, but such accent shifts are totally normal.

A 2017 study published in Language found that it’s common for adults’ accents to change depending on who they interact with. The study observed accent shifts on the show Big Brother UK, which houses contestants together in isolation for three months. They found that “accent change over the medium term is ubiquitous: large daily fluctuations in each sound variable are the norm, while longer-term change over weeks to months occurs in a minority of cases.”

It makes sense, then, that when Meghan was living in England and surrounded by people with English accents, her own accent began to shift slightly to match theirs. Now, it looks like it’s Prince Harry’s turn to experience the same phenomenon.

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