Sunday, 3 Jul 2022

All the nicknames you never knew the Royal Family had for each other—from ‘DDG’ to ‘Gary’

Royal family on the balcony after Trooping the Colour (2019)

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While the royals are generally referred to by their official titles in public, just like any ordinary family, they also give each other endearing nicknames. From the oldest to youngest generations of the Royal Family, it seems that everyone is known by quirky sobriquets. Here, explores some of the unexpected royal nicknames that have been let slip outside of Palace walls. 

Queen Elizabeth II

At 96-years-old, the Queen has amassed a host of weird and wonderful nicknames, starting with ‘Lilibet’, the sweet nickname given to the then-Princess by her mother and father — Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and King George VI. 

It has been reported that the nickname started as ‘Tillabet’, originally coming about after Elizabeth could not pronounce her own name as a child, and later became ‘Lilibet’. But it may also be because her mother was called Elizabeth, so the cute pet name would have avoided any confusion.

George VI famously used to say about his two daughters: “Lilibet is my pride. Margaret is my joy.”

In 1947, Elizabeth married Phillip Mountbatten and, until his death in April last year, the former naval officer was the monarch’s “strength and stay”.

The pair’s relationship has been heralded as an epic romance, but Philip’s nickname for his wife may be unexpected. 

During their 73-year marriage, Philip called Her Majesty ‘Cabbage’ — believed to originate from a French phrase — ‘mon petit chou’ — which means ‘my little cabbage’. This can also mean ‘my little pastry puff’.  

Echoing the origins of ‘Lilibet’, Prince William once had a nickname for Her Majesty due to difficulties with pronunciation. 

As a child, the Duke of Cambridge struggled to say ‘grandma’ or ‘granny’, so while trying to call out for the Queen, it came out as the name Gary. 

According to the Daily Mail: “A guest who went to help asked who Gary was, assuming it must be a member of the royal household. 

“‘I’m Gary,’ responded Elizabeth. ‘He hasn’t learned to say Granny yet.’”

Of course, now, William and the Queen’s other seven grandchildren refer to the monarch as ‘Granny’.

Similarly, decades later, the Queen received a brand new nickname from her youngest heir — Prince George.

In an interview with ITV from 2016, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge revealed her eldest son started using the nickname “Gan-Gan” at the age of two.

The Queen also has a long list of nicknames from the public, but perhaps most frequently used is ‘Ma’am’ and it appears that those closest to the monarch have their own version of the style. 

Members of the Royal Family reportedly call Her Majesty ‘mama’, a nod to her matriarchal status. 

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Prince Philip 

The Duke of Edinburgh was known as ‘P.P’ — a shortening, of course, of Prince Philip — around Buckingham Palace. 

According to Adrian Tinniswood, there was a pet name only a chosen few within the household knew about, the author of ‘Behind the Throne: A Domestic History of the British Royal Household’ said family, close friends and trusted staff could call him ‘P.P’.

Prince Charles

Perhaps Prince Charles’ most notable nickname was given to him by his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. 

The pair have referred to each other as ‘Fred’ and ‘Gladys’, inspired by characters on BBC radio’s “The Goon Show”.

These nicknames predate Charles’s first marriage with Diana, Princess of Wales, with the couple first using them when they dated in their twenties, and the unique monikers were reportedly at the centre of a dramatic moment between Charles and Diana. 

According to The Mirror, just days before Diana and Charles wed, the future princess became increasingly worried about her fiancé’s close relationship with his ex-girlfriend. 

Diana then found a box tucked away in Charles’s private secretary Michael Colborne’s office. 

In opening the package, she discovered a gold bracelet engraved with the letters ‘G’ and ‘F’, suspectedly standing for ‘Gladys’ and ‘Fred’.

Camilla also lovingly refers to her husband as ‘darling’. 

After the arrival of Prince George in 2013, Charles received a new nickname which suitably reflects both his and George’s royal destinies. 

Writing for the Daily Mail, Robert Hardman, royal expert and author, claimed the eight-year-old referred to his grandfather as ‘Grandpa Wales’ — a nickname that has been picked up by the Prince of Wales’ other grandchildren. 

The moniker is a touching echo of the Queen’s own relationship with George V whom she called ‘Grandpa England’. 

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Including the infamous ‘Gladys’, Charles has an array of affectionate nicknames for his wife. 

In February, the Prince of Wales called his wife “my mehbooba” during a speech at the British Museum in London. 

In Urdu, ‘mehbooba‘ means ‘beloved’, and it is a word widely used in the Indian subcontinent.

The second-in-line to the throne said: “I cannot quite believe it is almost two years to the day that both my mehbooba and myself were able to be with all of you to celebrate the work of the British Asian Trust.”

Charles is also said to have called Camilla ‘Girl Friday’ and some reports suggest that the bracelet branded with ‘GF’ actually referred to this nickname. 

Sally Bedell Smith spoke to the Royally Obsessed podcast in March: “It just said ‘GF’ and ‘GF’ meant ‘Girl Friday’.

“That’s what he jokingly called her. It just meant that she was sort of his companion, his helper.”

She continued: “It could have meant that she was his Friday girl too. But ‘Girl Friday’ usually refers to someone who’s a sort of Jill of all trades.

“She could help him out with things, and she was sort of reliable. Camilla would definitely fit that bill.”

Similarly to Charles, Camilla has also been given a sweet nickname by her young grandchildren. 

The duchess revealed the young royals call her ‘Gaga’ at the Royal Variety Performance to none other than Lady Gaga. 

Meeting the singer before the show at the Hammersmith Apollo, London, Camilla told the star: “My grandchildren call me Gaga”.

Diana, Princess of Wales

The royal grandchildren also have adorable nicknames for the late Princess Diana. 

In March last year, George, Charlotte, seven, and Louis, four, paid tribute to their “Granny Diana” on Mother’s Day, and said: “Papa is missing you.”

More recently, during an interview with Today’s Hoda Kotb, Prince Harry revealed how he talks about his mother with his and Meghan Markle’s three-year-old son, Archie Harrison. 

In fact, the couple even show the youngster photos of his late grandmother.

Referring to Diana’s fatal car accident in 1997, he told Kotb: “I don’t tell him all the stuff that happened. But certainly, ‘This is Grandma Diana.'”

Prince William

The Duke of Cambridge had the unique nickname ‘Wombat’ which was given to him by his late mother. 

In a 2007 interview with NBC, William admitted the name has stuck with him, saying: “I can’t get rid of it now. It began when I was two. 

“I’ve been rightfully told because I can’t remember back that far, but when we went to Australia with our parents, and the wombat, you know, that’s the local animal, so I just basically got called that, not because I look like a wombat, or maybe I do.”

Diana also referred to her eldest son as ‘DDG’, standing for ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous.’ 

In Christopher Andersen‘s ‘The Day Diana Died’, he details how smitten the Princess of Wales was with her firstborn. He wrote: “Diana would rave, ‘Isn’t he superb! And he’s so tall too. The girls will be mad for him!’”

Andersen explains that when William was a teenager, magazines were already featuring poster-size photos of him. 

He said: “She routinely referred to him as ‘DDG.’ 

“Wills’s reaction was predictable. ‘Oh mum,’ he’d object, ‘don’t say that!’”

“Drop-dead gorgeous” was a common phrase that the Princess used to describe handsome men. She specifically used it after meeting Dr. Hasnat Khan – who some consider her one true love.

William has also been given a host of nicknames by his wife Kate; the duchess has previously referred to the prince as ‘Baldy’, ‘Big Willy’ and ‘Babe.’ 

But the future king most frequently goes by ‘Will’ – during the royal’s visit to Blackpool last year, one fan explained how she accidentally called the future king ‘Will’.

Ellie Mae-Coleman told Hello!: “I called Will ‘Will’ and I was like: ‘ahhhh sorry,’ and he said: ‘Don’t worry, that’s my name.’”

The duke’s most recent nicknames come from his children. While fathers in the UK are often referred to as ‘Daddy’ or ‘Dad’, the Cambridge children have adorably called their dad ‘Pops’ and ‘Papa’. 

Similarly, William and Kate have given their children their own nicknames. 

At school, George is known as ‘PG’ so the Cambridges now fondly call him PG Tips or just “Tips” after the tea.

And in 2019, Kate revealed that they have a more informal nickname for their daughter, Charlotte. 

The duchess was chatting to blogger Laura-Ann in Belfast, who mentioned her son, Bertie, who was four at the time. Kate then commented that he’s nearly the same age as “Lottie”.

And the duke has reportedly referred to his daughter as ‘Mignonette’, which could be derived from the French word mignon, meaning small and delicate.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge

William has returned the favour when it comes to his list of nicknames for his wife.

The duke commonly refers to Kate as ‘poppet’ and ‘darling’, but perhaps a more quirky moniker is ‘Duchess of Do-Little’ or ‘DoD’ for short. 

This seemingly jokey pet name plays on criticism Kate received in the early days of her royal life, as Kate was reportedly blasted for not having a full-time career before she entered the Royal Family.

William’s younger brother, Harry, was a third wheel in the Cambridges’ relationship for a few years, and the Duke of Sussex and his sister-in-law forged a close bond of their own during this time.

Harry reportedly refers to the duchess as ‘Cath’, an abbreviation of her full name Catherine.  

Prince Harry

Harry was no longer a third wheel when he found a royal romance of his own with Meghan Markle. 

The former Hollywood actress has a number of sweet nicknames for her husband, including: ‘H’, ‘Haz’ and ‘My Love’. 

While speaking to interviewer Tom Bradby for their documentary in 2019, ‘Harry & Meghan: An African Journey’, Meghan began: “I’ve said for a long time to H…”.  

At that point she paused, before adding between giggles: “That’s what I call him.”

Last year, in a segment for ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’, Meghan referred to Harry as ‘Haz’ during a FaceTime call with her husband and the host. 

Like his brother, Harry was given a nickname by his mother, Diana. 

Butler Paul Burrell says that they secretly referred to Prince Harry as “GKH” for “Good King Harry.”

Mr Burrell told last year that William didn’t like growing up being told he had to behave because he was going to be king. “‘You’d better sit up straight, you’d better behave because you’re going to be king one day.’  

“‘I don’t want to be king,’ William said one day,” 

““Harry piped up: ‘Well, I’ll do the job instead of you then.’  

“So from that day on, the Princess and I called Harry GKH – Good King Harry.”

In the past, Harry has also been called ‘Spike’ and even used the nickname as his online pseudonym. 

Other pet names include: ‘Potter’, ‘Flash’ and ‘Gromit’. 

Meghan Markle 

Harry has kept his nickname for his wife relatively simple, and refers to Meghan as ‘Meg’. 

Charles, on the other hand, has a more uncommon moniker for his daughter-in-law. 

The Daily Mail revealed the future King called the duchess ‘Tungsten’, after he likened her tough and unbending personality to the strong metal.

A source told the publication: “Prince Charles admires Meghan for her strength and the backbone she gives Harry, who needs a tungsten-type figure in his life as he can be a bit of a softy.”

Both Meghan and Harry also have sweet nicknames for their two children — Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana.  

Their three-year-old son has been called ‘Baby Sussex’, ‘Arch’, ‘Our Little Man’ and ‘Bubba’, while one-year-old Lilibet is often called ‘Lili’. 

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