You know, if you listen to the Queen (plenty of clips on YouTube), she does not pronounce "about" as abite. Where did this idea ever come from? I've even watched the old videos and she didn't do it then either.
Strange, isn’t it? Yet an awful lot of people seem convinced that both she and her son Charles do just that. Here’s Steve Bell again, in today’s Guardian.
A kynecil hice in the grinds (a council house in the grounds)? Really?
YouTube can be our witness that Charles’s MOUTH vowel is usually pretty unremarkable. Here he is
- when young, in 1969. Notice how he says thousand at 1:24 and down, round, out at 1:32-1:39; and
- just a few years ago, in 2006. Listen for out at 0:43 and 0:50, then a thousand pounds at 1:17.
Perhaps they have been laughed out of it. A more likely scenario might be that they tend to pronounce aɨ just very occasionally, say one time in thirty or forty — and the popular stereotype has seized on this rare variant as being typical and pervasive.