Received Pronunciation, also known as RP, is the name given to a variety of British English. Because it is spoken by members of the Royal Family, professors of Oxford and Cambridge, and BBC newscasters, it is considered a prestigious accent. However, current statistics reveal that it is no longer spoken by many people in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. It is now mostly spoken in England.
Received Pronunciation also has other names. These include Oxford English, BBC English and Queen's English. Though it is the form of British English which is most often taught to foreigners, it is a minority accent. Only 2-3% of the English population actually speaks it. Though many speakers of RP live in London, it is not a regional accent. RP speakers may be found in any part of Britain. In fact, upper-class Scots often speak RP with no trace of a Scottish accent.
RP has a number of notable features. These include a diphthong in words such as "go", "show" and "boat" in which the first component is a mid front unrounded vowel. Other features include a word-final lax vowel in words such as "happy" and thirty", a mid back rounded lax vowel in words such as "not" and "off", a low back vowel in "bath" and "dance", and high vowels which are slightly diphthongized such as in "read" and "boot".
The RP accent is non-rhotic, the same as most accents of England. The words "pa" and "par" sound the same. However, "he" and "here" do not because "here" ends with a schwa.
Received Pronunciation is a famous accent associated with the British upper-class. It is also the variety of British English that is most familiar to many people. However, it is definitely not the most widely-spoken. It must be considered a minority accent because it is spoken by a relatively small percentage of the British population.