This chapter examines the notion of 'standard British English' from several perspectives. It discusses the emergence of British English as a national standard through canonical stages, like those postulated by Haugen ( 1972), and by Schneider (2007) for the evolution of postcolonial Englishes. Its status as an international standard, achieved through colonial expansion, is set in counterpoint to the rise of American English in the 19th and 20th centuries. The status of "British English" as a regional standard is then discussed with reference to recent models of "world English", and contrasted with perceptions of it within Great Britain, in the tug-of-war between local identity and the ideology of the standard (Milroy 2000). Its multiple roles help to make British English linguistically more pluralistic than American English in the 21st century. How this will affect the place of British English in any putative "world standard English" remains to be seen.