ROYALS

Goodbye Gan-Gan! Inside the Queen’s special bond with her great-grandkids

The little ones brought the monarch so much joy!
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Afer the late Queen adjusted to her life without her “strength and stay” Prince Philip, there was one thing she could rely on: the unconditional love and endless cuteness of her 11 great-grandchildren, with Lilibet Diana the last addition before the monarch’s death in September 2022.

WATCH The Queen partakes in her very first Zoom call

While she’s the Queen to her loyal Commonwealth subjects, to them she was simply Granny, or in the case of the Cambridge kids, “Gan-Gan”.

And while lockdowns and travel restrictions impacted when and where she can see her family over the final years of her life, there’s no doubt that even a Zoom call to the palace from the little ones will always brought a smile to her face.

The Queen and her great grandchildren
The Queen and the late Prince Philip with all their great-grandchildren. (Credit: Getty)

In his interview with James Corden before his grandfather’s death, Prince Harry revealed that his grandparents were dab hands at video conferencing with Her Majesty’s eighth great-grandchild, little Archie, three.

“Both my grandparents do Zoom,” said Harry. “They’ve seen Archie running around.”

The Queen thought Archie was “the most adorable child,” a palace insider told Closer magazine in 2020. “She can’t believe how much he’s grown and changed.”

Prince George
Prince George (pictured) is a source of joy for the Queen. (Credit: Getty)

Princess Charlotte forged this special bond with her great-grandmother partly  as a result of their mutual love of horses. But the Queen doesn’t play favourites: she’s also said to be extremely close to Prince George, with whom she often spends time alone. Charlotte and George’s little brother Louis is also a great source of unbridled joy for the Queen, featuring in a prominently displayed photo during the monarch’s video calls in 2020.

In the documentary The Queen at 90, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge revealed that Her Majesty is known to “spoil” her great-grandchildren from time to time.

“She always leaves a little gift of something in their room when we go and stay, and that just shows her love for the family,” Kate divulged.

The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince William and Kate Middleton
The Queen at 90, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge revealed that Her Majesty is known to “spoil” her great-grandchildren from time to time (Credit: Getty)

Of course, the other young ones in her life are all equally as loved by the 95-year-old monarch. Her eldest great- grandchild is 11-year-old Savannah Phillips, the daughter of her eldest grandchild Peter Phillips and his ex-wife Autumn.

Savannah’s sister Isla is 10. Both are close to their royal relatives,  and attend royal events, such as the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham and family holidays in Balmoral, where royal expert Ingrid Seward says “the older children look after the younger ones and they all join in”.

And of course, the monarch is close to Zara’s children Mia, eight, and Lena, four, as well as newest arrival, Lucas.

Savannah Phillips and Prince George
The Queen’s eldest great- grandchild is 10-year-old Savannah Phillips (pictured), the daughter of her eldest grandchild Peter Phillips and his ex-wife Autumn. (Credit: Getty)

He’s not the only newborn in town either, Princess Eugenie having son August in February, 2021, Princess Beatrice giving birth to daughter Sienna the same year. And of course, Meghan and Harry’s daughter Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor arrived in June.

And if you worry the palace – or Windsor Castle – was too formal for such a brood of cute but rampaging kids, then fear not.

The Queen made quite sure that her favourite littlies were well looked after – in fact, Princess Beatrice remodelled the Queen’s own childhood cubby house in the grounds of Windsor Castle in 2012.

The Queen, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Prince Philip with Archie
Prince Harry revealed that his grandparents were dab hands at video conferencing with Her Majesty’s eighth great-grandchild, little Archie, two (Credit: Getty)

The mini-home, called The Little House, was a gift for Queen Elizabeth II on her sixth birthday in 1932, courtesy of the people of Wales, and it’s a gorgeous, well-fitted out little playhouse they all love.

According to the princess, the Queen knew how she wanted it. Princess Beatrice revealed, “Granny was very clear that for all the fabric she wanted very little designs” and that it’s “such a little house that she wanted little flowers and patterns. It’s beautiful”.

The Queen and her sister Princess Margaret played in the little house as girls, and it’s still being used today by the youngest royals – and you can bet all her great-grandkids enjoyed spending time there, with their doting great-grandma smiling on.

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