Christopher Howse has narrated this article for you to listen to.
Cockney is dead, but so is the King’s English. Long live Standard Southern British English. The Cockney Barbara Windsor yelling ‘Ge’ aah-a my pub’ is as fossilised as Eliza Doolittle. And what a shock it is today to hear the late Queen, aged 21, declare: ‘My whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family.’