Sam Levenson once said this about the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren: “The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.” Vicious but sort of true. There is a bond between grandparents and grandchildren that is sort of lovely and almost exclusionary to the tie that binds them; the parents. In the very best cases, grandparents and grandkids find a way to be friends and co-conspirators. Like in these photos of royal grandfathers with their grandkids, for instance. While it’s the nature of the monarchy to be proper most of the time, the rules appear to get bent for grandkids.
One of the best examples of this was the Duke of Edinburgh,
who died in April at the age of 99 years old. His eight grandchildren all paid tribute to a man who was known the world over as the longest reigning consort to the Queen, but to them, he was simply their grandfather. Prince Harry wrote in a moving message about Prince Philip that he was saying goodbye to “my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ‘til the end.”
Prince Philip was certainly not the only grandfather in the royal family, but he set the barre high. As did his predecessor.
The King & His Pint-Sized Heir
King George VI looked so proud of his little heir Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 1951, who looked like he was telling his grandpa a heck of a tale.
Christening The Princess Fox Photos/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
King George VI gazed down adoringly at Princess Anne at her christening in 1950; as a girl dad himself, he was probably pretty excited to have a granddaughter.
Family Holiday ullstein bild Dtl./ullstein bild/Getty Images
King George VI spent time with Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Balmoral, the royal family’s summer holiday home in Scotland, in 1951. Sadly, the proud grandfather did not get to spend much time with his grandchildren as he would go on to die in 1952.
Passing On The Horse Love Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images
Prince Philip took to being a grandfather right away, it seems. Look at how happy he is to be wandering around the Royal Windsor Horse Show with Princess Anne’s two kids, Peter and Zara Phillips.
Little Ducks In A Row PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
Princess Anne trails behind as adorable little Peter and Zara follow in their grandfather’s footsteps like little ducks in a row.
Visiting Zara Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images
Prince Philip visited granddaughter Zara at Port Regis School for a little walk around the grounds.
Holidays With Grandpa Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images
Prince William spent many a Christmas at Sandringham with the royal family, and he and Prince Philip looked snazzy walking to church with Princess Diana in 1990.
A Pillar Of Strength Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
When Prince William and Prince Harry lost their mother Princess Diana in 1997, they were asked to walk behind her casket.
Prince William reportedly refused; unless his grandfather Prince Philip walked beside him. He was obviously a pillar of strength for his grandsons that horrible day. Sharing A Laugh Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
During Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Prince Philip shared a laugh with Prince Harry.
Never Too Old For A Kiss Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Prince William kisses his grandfather Prince Philip at a memorial for Princess Diana in 2007.
Driving Prince Philip Owen Humphreys - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth brought Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice to a memorial for Princess Diana in 2007.
Any Excuse To Hang Out With The Grandkids Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, daughters of Prince Andrew, spent quality time with Prince Philip during the 2012 celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
A Royal Holiday Joe Giddens - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
Prince Philip’s youngest granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, looks like she’s having a great time walking with him at Sandringham in 2017.
A Place Of Honor Danny Martindale/WireImage/Getty Images
Prince Edward’s son James had the place of honor between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip during the 2015 Trooping The Colour. Too bad it was apparently so loud.
All Eyes On George Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
Prince Charles became a grandfather when Prince George was born, and at a 2015 polo match he couldn’t take his eyes off him. So proud.
Chatting With Grandpa Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The action might have been in the sky at the 2016 Trooping The Colour, but young Prince George, oldest son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, had his grandfather Prince Charles captivated on the balcony. Look how excited he’s getting.
The Christmas Tradition Continues BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Prince Charles was joined by Princess Charlotte at Sandringham at Christmas 2019. The tradition continues.
Still Loves Those Kids James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images
Prince Philip gets a kick out of Princess Charlotte and Prince George at the 2017 Trooping The Colour.
Another Royal Christening In The Books WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Prince Charles attended his grandson Prince Louis’ christening in 2018.
Waving Goodbye To The Future King Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
Prince William’s youngest son Prince Louis waved goodbye to his smiling grandfather Prince Charles at the 2019 Trooping The Colour.