Royals

Queen Elizabeth always has a smile for her grandchildren.
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21 Royally Sweet Photos Of The Queen With Her Grandchildren

Behind close doors, the queen goes by "Gan Gan" Or "Granny."

Sometimes it's difficult to remember that the royal family is just that, a family. With all the pomp and circumstance, all the princes and princess and dukes and duchesses, they are still parents, grandparents, cousins, brothers, sisters. As so strongly evidenced by a scroll through these photos of Queen Elizabeth with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She might be the longest reigning monarch the United Kingdom has ever seen, but to these people she is quite simply "Gran."

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are parents to four children together: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. From those children, they are now grandparents to eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Each of her grandchildren are reportedly close to her in different ways. According to royal expert Robert Lacey, Prince William has received important mentorship from the queen over the years as heir to the throne, according to People. While his brother Prince Harry reportedly has enjoyed a more casual relationship with his grandmother, so much so that he rather famously gave her a shower cap one Christmas that read "Ain't Life A B**ch," according to The Daily Express.

Like most big families, everyone has their own role and cute nicknames for each other. In private, Prince William and Prince Harry reportedly call the queen "Granny" or "Gran," while her great-grandchildren call her "Gan-Gan," according to Marie Claire. And from the looks of these photos, she enjoys this role quite a bit.

Bonding Over Polo

Queen Elizabeth enjoying some private time with Prince William and Prince Harry.Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth enjoyed a little bonding time at a polo match in 1987 with young Princes William and Harry.

The Heir Has Arrived

Queen Elizabeth poses with Prince William in 1983.API/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth's formal portrait with her new grandson Prince William and his parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, in 1983 can't hide her joy at his arrival. Also look at how Prince Philip beams and the Queen Mother looks on with pride.

Prince William, The Charmer

Prince William at Prince Harry's christening.PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

Prince William was the apple of everyone's eye at Prince Harry's christening in 1984, especially his proud grandmother.

Keeping It Casual With The Kids

Queen Elizabeth hangs out with her grandkids.David Levenson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth's two grandchildren from daughter Princess Anne, Peter and Zara Philips (now Tindall), hang out with her at the Windsor Horse Show in 1984. Peter is actually her first born grandchild.

Fun With The Fire Engine

Queen Elizabeth looks on as her grandkids check out a fire engine.John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images

Prince William, Zara and Peter Philips, Princess Diana, and Prince Charles joined Queen Elizabeth to check out a fire engine at Sandringham in 1988.

Leading By Example

Queen Elizabeth showing her granddaughters the ropes.Fiona Hanson - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth shows Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, how to greet well-wishers on Christmas Day in Sandringham, 1998.

Holding Hands With Harry

Queen Elizabeth holds Prince Harry's hand in 1989.Georges De Keerle/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Easter is also a big time to get the family together for the royals, and Queen Elizabeth helps out with her grandkids at St. George's Chapel in Windsor in 1989 by holding Prince Harry's hand. Years later he would marry Meghan Markle at that same spot.

Horses & Granddaughters

Queen Elizabeth with Lady Louise.Steve Parsons - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Lady Louise is the daughter of Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex. At the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2010, she looked like she was ready to follow in her grandmother's footsteps as a lover of horses.

On The Queen's Knees

Zara Philips watching polo with her grandmother.Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Zara Philips sat perched on her grandmother's knee to watch polo in 1984 like it was no big deal.

Give Us A Kiss

Prince Harry kisses his grandmother.Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage/Getty Images

At the wedding of her oldest grandchild Peter Philips in 2008, Queen Elizabeth stopped for a little kiss from her grandson Prince Harry.

Always Happy In Scotland

Queen Elizabeth with her granddaughters in Scotland.Andrew Milligan - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice joined Queen Elizabeth for a walk at Balmoral in Scotland along with their uncle Prince Charles, a place that remains very special to the whole family.

Just Gran & Her Grandson Sharing A Laugh

Queen Elizabeth and Prince William share a laugh in 2005.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Prince William and Queen Elizabeth share a laugh at the 2005 Braemar Highland Gathering at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park.

Always With Those Horses

Queen Elizabeth laughs with granddaughter Zara.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Tindall shares her grandmother's love of horses and can also make her laugh, apparently, as she did at Royal Ascot in 2007.

Surrounded By Grandsons

Queen Elizabeth surrounded by grandsons.Danny Martindale/WireImage/Getty Images

In 2015, when Queen Elizabeth was at the Trooping The Colour in honor of her birthday, she stood with three grandsons and one great-grandson. Prince Harry and Prince William were there as were young Prince George and her youngest grandson from Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, James.

She Gets A Kick Out Of Her

Queen Elizabeth smiles at her great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte.Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth looking all adoring at her great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte in 2017 at the Trooping The Colour really warms the cockles of my heart.

All Dressed Up For Trooping

The grandchildren on display in 2015.James Devaney/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Two of Queen Elizabeth's great-granddaughters, Savannah and Isla Philips (children of Peter and Autumn Philips), are not often seen out with their great-grandmother. Which is why this shot from the 2015 Trooping The Colour is so precious.

All The Cute Babies

Queen Elizabeth with great-grandson Prince Louis.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth's great-grandson Prince Louis, youngest child of Prince William and Kate Middleton, really stole the show at the 2019 Trooping The Colour.

Never Too Old To Kiss Gran

Prince William kisses Queen Elizabeth in 2004.Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty Images

In 2004, Queen Elizabeth gifted her grandson Prince William with a kiss at his polo match in Windsor.

Gaining A Granddaughter

Queen Elizabeth gained a new grandchild with Meghan Markle.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in 2018, Queen Elizabeth gained a granddaughter-in-law. And she couldn't have looked happier about it than she did at Royal Ascot that year.

Stepping Up For Gran

Kate Middleton and Prince William stepping up for the Queen.WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

After the coronavirus made a royal Christmas gathering at Sandringham impossible, Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoyed a distanced visit with the Queen in 2020.

Princess Beatrice Matches Her Gran

Princess Beatrice joins the Queen at Royal Ascot.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Princess Beatrice might not be a senior member of the royal family, but she's certainly close to her grandmother. As evidenced by this photo of them together at Royal Ascot in 2009.