Errors & Omissions: HRH? Her Majesty the Queen would not have been amused

 

Jenny Banks-Bryer writes in to draw attention to a chatty piece about the Jubilee in last Saturday's magazine. It referred to the Queen once as "HRH QEII" and again as "HRH 'Lilibet'". We shall pass over the jaunty nicknames, but this "HRH" business has gone far enough. This not being North Korea, everybody has a right to make fun of royal titles, but they should get them right, on pain of looking ignorant.

HRH stands for His/Her Royal Highness, a style associated with princes and princesses of the United Kingdom – that is to say with the children of sovereigns and the children of the sons of sovereigns. That is the general rule, established by George V, though there are exceptions. Most, but by no means all, of the people you think of as members of the Royal Family are Royal Highnesses. The Queen is not. She is Her Majesty – HM, as in HM Government, HM Revenue and Customs and so on.

London rules: All national news media, this newspaper as much as any, are constantly accused of being too "Londoncentric" – greeting with both ignorance and indifference the world beyond the M25. That may very well be so, but on occasions a bit more familiarity with the history and geography of London would do no harm. (Citizens of the wider world may wish to avoid Londoncentricity by skipping the next two paragraphs.)

The subject of "My Secret Life" in last Saturday's magazine was the musician Suggs. He told the interviewer that he grew up in a flat above the old Maples store "on the corner of Tottenham Court Road ... It was a 10-minute walk to the heart of Camden Town and 10 minutes the other way to the heart of Soho".

So far, so good, but the "Life in Brief" summary edited all that down to "He grew up in London's Soho". Not if the flat was on Tottenham Court Road, he didn't. That commercial thoroughfare, famed for its electronics shops, runs north from central London towards Camden Town. It forms the boundary between Bloomsbury to the east and Fitzrovia to the west. Soho lies farther to the south, separated from Fitzrovia by Oxford Street.

Capital notion: (Welcome back – no more pearly kings and Cockney sparrers from now on.) We now cross the Atlantic from London to the US. On Wednesday, a business page reported that a Saudi prince had "amassed a property portfolio that spans the US, from BAE offices in Reston, Virginia, near the capital Washington, to the headquarters of the television company Stars in California". It's not the most terrible thing, but there is something sadly clumsy about "near the capital Washington". There is no need to tell anybody that Washington is the capital of the US. "Near Washington" would have done fine.

Up and down: This is from a Tuesday news report about a record for cycling round the world: "The route taken by each person in the race was down to the individual." Or should that be "up to"? There is widespread uncertainty about the difference between "up to" and "down to", but it seems clear: things you have to do are up to you; things you have done are down to you – down on your scorecard, so to speak. In the case of the round-the-world cyclists, "down to" is not wrong, since the choice of route was in the past. But you suspect the writer really meant "up to", the point being that they had a free choice.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible