Kate Middleton and Prince William are rahs—an English version of preps but with more paisley.

What women really think about news, politics, and culture.
April 20 2011 7:07 AM

The Official "Rah" Handbook

Prince William and Kate Middleton aren't preppies. You should call them "rahs."

In order to better understand the divine coupling of Prince William and Kate Middleton, we've asked a local London correspondent, Flossy Barret-Wolmsby, to explain their particular subculture to readers on this side of the pond. Herewith, a primer on the British "rah." They're like American preppies, but with more paisley.

Prince William sticks out his tongue at his darling Kate Middleton. Click image to expand.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are "rah," not "preppy"

Hallo sweet angels, swing me your ears! No doubt you are all bated breathlessly for the royal wedding of gorgeous William and his Kate. Yet these sexySEX lovers are just the tip of the posh-berg of young rich Brits known as Sloane Rangers, Hooray Henrys, and toffs. Each term deserves its own treatise, but for the sake of brevity, we'll call them "rahs." (Rich arseholes in prole-tois.) There is a strict rah pecking order, with Wills at the top, and betas who shop at Jack Wills (England's Abercrombie) at the bottom. And since you'll be glued to the telly for all the connubial mayhem, you may as well learn the secret ways of the royal cabal. LIKE.

First, l'histoire du rah. In fair London, where we lay our scene, the old heart of rah-dom beats in Sloane Square, where Will's mum Diana Spencer reigned until becoming HRH-ed. But the glory of that Rome has dimmed, and its diaspo-rah makes merry at the ancient universities of Cambridge and Oxford (or Durham, Bristol, and St. Andrews, for the slightly less clever sort).

How do you spot a rah? Take American preps. Now chuck them in the Thames. A rah-ette is a towering tangle of teased blond hair in a fur coat and tights. She loves Shakespeare ("Shaky"), sex, and a dubstep DJ called Sgt. Pokes. A he-rah is a tragic Adonis in a floral shirt and deck shoes. He adores bad '90s rock, Prufrock, and himself. We all wear paisley pashminas.

Between school and university, we usually venture forth on a gap yah. What is a gap yah? It's nine months of bacchanalia in a third-world yonder. We atone for our colonial past and frolic and stare at monkeysmonkeysmonkeys. Prince William rodeo-ed round Belize, Chile, Africa, and finally worked on a dairy farm for £3.20 an hour milking cows. Glorious!

To see us at our tip-top, come to one of our costumey country larks at my godpapa's manor. Pick a theme: empire bash, Orientalist masquerade, classical fête. Girls in garlands, turbans, saris, sequins. Boys in top hats and military attire. Oh look, there's Harry in a Nazi costume. Live snakes, ice sculptures, circus marquees, flambeaux. GLITZKRIEG.

Our names are not common like yours. We have lyrical, often hyphenated appellations: Annunciata, Percival, Pernilla, Typhaine. Do you know Digby Dalrymple? Or Tristan Brotherton-Ruggles? Or Cato Boothby-Gore? Perhaps you know us by our nicknames: Jonty, Gussy, Checky, Flonny. You may call me Flossy.

What is the rah patois? You must know our ding-a-lingo, darling. Everything is glorious, divine, splendid, beauteous, naughty, a twirling whirl. We adore archaisms: alas, anon, perchance. Never say evening. It's eve. Never say balsamic. It's balsam. Adorn everything with French. Je t'embrasse. Ce soir. Chez moi. I am a flâneuse. You are a flâneur. Let us troubadour ensembleBisous!

It's important to have lots of cousins. Prince William has dozens, from buck-toothed Beatrice to cross-eyed bridesmaid Louise. Key-nya is key. We go to Key-nya with our cousins. He-rahs propose to she-rahs in Key-nya. Here we are, casually on safari. Here is, casually, a giraffe. Animals, rahs love animals. Living animals. Dead animals. Falcons (flying), elephants (riding), wild boar (dining), pheasants (hunting), peacocks (admiring).                          

You can also spot us by our Facebook photos: Here we are reclining by a pool in Tuscany. Here are some flowers in a pot. Why not soirée in this crumbling villa? I have my Oriental dressing gown, do you have your feather headdress? Time for our next holiday. Fall weekend in Rome. Dusk, Trevi Fountain, sunglasses. I have my SLR. Let me point it at your foot. Time for our next holiday.

Uh oh, we're done reading ancient Greek at Oxford. Daddy says it's time to make a living. Let's start a side business. Charity cupcakes. Novelty panties. P.R. Wedding planning?

Yes, wedding planning. But am I wrong in thinking that many of you lovelies are planning weddings with Prince Harry en ce moment? Bewareth thy rah rivals. But if the downward plunge from commoner to American seems not too precipitous for a royal bride, sally forth, and get thee a rah makeover. Omnia vincit amor!! (Oh apolzzz, do you not read Latin?) xxxxxxxxxx


War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The Only Good Thing That Happened at Today’s Soul-Crushing U.N. Climate Talks

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.


It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Sept. 23 2014 6:06 PM Nothing to See Here The one national holiday Republicans want you to forget.
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.