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The meaning and origin of the expression: We are a grandmother

We are a grandmother

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'We are a grandmother'?

'We have become a grandmother' was UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's statement to the press in 1989, on the birth of her first grandchild, Mark Thatcher's son Michael.

What's the origin of the phrase 'We are a grandmother'?

We are a grandmotherThe use of the 'royal we' (the 'pluralis majestatis' or 'majestic plural') had previously been restricted, as one might expect, to royalty; for example, Queen Victoria's celebrated 'we are not amused'. Its use by a mere prime minister and Thatcher's imperious personal manner were the source of considerable disdain at the time. Thatcher's apparent conceit led to her being described as 'a legend in her own imagination' and to some linguistic jokes at her expense:

- Why is Margaret Thatcher like a pound coin?
- Because she is thick, brassy and thinks she's a sovereign.

Another quip came in the explanation from an aide as to why she had the nickname of 'Daggers' Thatcher. An interviewer asked, 'Is that because she has a reputation for stabbing colleagues in the back?' 'No, its because she's three stops past Barking.'

[Dagenham is three stops past Barking on the London Underground]

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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