Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No Hard Feelings, Mate

Prince Charles paid tribute to the courage and resilience of Australians during an address he gave in London in acknowledgement of Australia Day. It seems that HRH has warm and affectionate feelings for Oz, despite being teased and called a "Pommy b**tard" while there as a lad in 1966.

From left: Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mum), The Pommy b*****d, and Mrs. Zara Holt. Australia, 1966

According to Wiki: The term pommy, often shortened to pom, in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, commonly denotes a person of British (English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish) origin. A derogatory term, it was controversially ruled no longer offensive in 2006 by the Australian Advertising Standards Board and in 2010 by the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority. Despite these changing views, many British people or those of British origin consider the expression offensive or racist when used by people not of British origin to describe English or British people, yet okay within that community: for example, the community group British People Against Racial Discrimination was among those who complained to the Advertising Standards Board about five advertisements poking fun at "Poms", prompting the 2006 decision... The Oxford English Dictionary(OED) strongly supports the theory that pommy originated as a contraction of "pomegranate". The OED also suggests that the reason for this is that pomegranate is extinct Australian rhyming slang for immigrant; it cites an article from 14 November 1912, in a once-prominent Australian weekly magazine The Bulletin: "The other day a Pummy Grant (assisted immigrant) was handed a bridle and told to catch a horse." A popular alternative explanation for the theory that pommy is a contraction of "pomegranate", relates to the purported frequency of sunburn among British people in Australia, turning their fair skin the colour of pomegranates. However, there is no hard evidence for the theory regarding sunburn. Another unofficial explanation is that P.O.M.E. stands for 'Prisoner of Mother England' or that P.O.H.M.E. stands for 'Prisoner of Her Majesty's Exile'. However, the OED states that there is no evidence for these terms or abbreviations being used and that they are an unlikely source. It has also been suggested that POM stands for "product of Mother England".


Whatever the etymology, we hope that our friends down-under take encouragement and hope from HRH's kind words and anywhere else they can and that the tough times they are facing end soon.
It may be a day late, but the sentiment is heartfelt: Happy Australia Day and best of luck to all!


  1. Where I grew up, the Grits added "bastard" to their pommy! Now, these were farmer who were backward with an affinity for William of Orange. The grew onions and hated Tories in general.