the royal we

the royal we

The first person plural used by a person with supreme authority, or, in modern times, sometimes to preserve anonymity. Supposedly, the first king to use we in this way was Richard I in the Charter to Winchester (1190). “We are not amused” is a rebuke often attributed to straitlaced Queen Victoria. In the twentieth century, magazines and newspapers frequently use the editorial we to express an opinion that may in fact be shared by no one but the writer. Lisa Alther expressed an opinion about that in her novel Kinflicks (1979): “She had learnt . . . that it was impossible to discuss issues civilly with a person who insisted on referring to himself as ‘we.’”
See also: royal, we