Royal Family nicknames: Surprising monikers from Willy and Harold to Tips and Cabbage


Rebecca Taylor
 and Lauren Clark

Fri, 6 January 2023 at 2:40 pm GMT

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Savannah Phillips, Prince George of Cambridge and Isla Phillips watch the flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour on June 9, 2018 in London, England. The annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. The parade marks the official birthday of the Sovereign, even though the Queen's actual birthday is on April 21st.
There are some unusual Royal Family nicknames that have emerged. (Getty Images)

They might have their own rather official titles, but there are some surprising Royal Family nicknames that have come to light over the years.

Everyone from the late Queen and Prince Philip, to King Charles and the Queen Consort, have been revealed to enjoy some rather sweet – if unusual – monikers among themselves.

Now, Prince Harry has disclosed, in his upcoming book Spare, the affectionate names used for himself and his brother Prince William behind closed doors.

This follows Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan revealing what the Sussexes also call one another.

Willy and Harold

Prince Harry’s memory isn’t due to be released until next week – however leaked extracts have revealed that he and his brother Prince William refer to one another as ‘Willy’ and ‘Harold’.

The monikers are present in at least two parts of the book, according to The Telegraph, with the first during a physical row between the pair in 2019.

When the Duke of Sussex tried to calm the now-Prince of Wales, he recalled telling his older sibling: “Willy, I can’t speak to you when you’re like this.”

The latter replied: “I didn’t attack you, Harold.”

In the second mention, Harry claimed to have asked his brother and then-girlfriend Kate Middleton – now the Princess of Wales – for their advice on a costume for a fancy dress party in 2005.

Revealing the options, which included a pilot uniform, he said: “I phoned Willy and Kate, asked what they thought. Nazi uniform, they said.

“They both howled. Worse than Willy’s leotard outfit! Way more ridiculous! Which, again, was the point.”

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the opening of the Greenhouse Sports Centre on April 26, 2018 in London, United Kingdom
Prince Harry revealed that he and his brother Prince William call one another ‘Willy’ and ‘Harold’. (Getty Images)

H, Haz, M and Meg

Late last year, viewers of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Netflix docuseries discovered their preference for calling one another ‘H’ and ‘M’.

This wasn’t the first time it emerged – in an interview in 2019, Meghan revealed to ITV’s Tom Bradby that she called him ‘H’.

However, sometimes she uses ‘Haz’ instead. In 2021, as the prince toured LA with James Corden, she referred to him in this way.

Meghan is often referred to as Meg by friends, as was revealed in the Netflix episodes.

Lilibet

As a child the late Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, is said to have been unable to pronounce her own name well, instead saying ‘Lilibet’.

The adorable mispronunciation became a nickname which was first used by her grandfather, King George V.

It stuck with the rest of her family too, and then became the name by which husband Prince Philip referred to her.

Harry and Meghan chose to name their daughter Lilibet Diana after she was born in 2021, and said the decision was made with the Queen’s support.

Princess Elizabeth aged nine, 1935, (1937). The future Queen Elizabeth II (1926-). A photograph from the Illustrated London News: Coronation Record Number, (London, 1937). (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
Princess Elizabeth aged nine in 1935. The young princess’s nickname came from being unable to pronounce her own name. (Getty Images)

Gary, or Gan-Gan

The late Queen, of course, had many an official royal title, but it was a different story at home.

According to royal correspondent Richard Kay, Prince William was encouraged to call her Granny as a child, but he couldn’t quite get the hang of it. What he could manage, was Gary.

Kay said: “On another occasion, the Queen was on hand after William fell over at Buckingham Palace, bawling: ‘Gary, Gary’. A guest who went to help asked who Gary was, assuming it must be a member of the royal household.

“‘I’m Gary,’ explained the Queen, as she scooped him up. ‘He hasn’t learned to say Granny yet.’”

UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14:  Queen With Prince William & Prince Henry At Polo  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
The Queen with Prince William and Prince Henry at Polo in 1986. (Getty Images)

He doesn’t still call her Gary, but his children had similar problems with working out what to call her.

The Princess of Wales has previously revealed when Prince George was a toddler he called her Gan-Gan.

Cabbage

Another one for the Queen, used by her late husband Prince Philip.

It was reported in 2006 in The Sunday Times that the Duke of Edinburgh had referred to his wife as ‘cabbage’.

The nickname was used in the Peter Morgan film The Queen, which was released the same year.

Morgan said: “I inquired in royal circles and was told on very good authority that that is what the duke sometimes calls the Queen.”

Papa

Not quite a nickname, but it seems King Charles is generally known as Papa to his sons and in-laws.

Prince Harry has referred to his father as Papa in speeches in the past, and on arrival at a join engagement in Cornwall in June 2021, it was easy to spot the moment the then-Duchess of Cambridge used the same name for him.

Usually, in public, the royals refer to one another by their titles or by their full names, but the duchess looked to be overcome with excitement at seeing her father-in-law before the true formalities of the evening began.

ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a drinks reception for Queen Elizabeth II and G7 leaders at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosts leaders from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 Summit. This year the UK has invited India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders' Summit as guest countries as well as the EU. (Photo by Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a drinks reception for the Queen and G7 leaders at The Eden Project. (Getty Images)

The name has been passed down the generations too, as a Mother’s Day card shared by Kensington Palace on Instagram in March 2021 showed that Princess Charlotte calls Prince William ‘Papa’ too.

Fred and Gladys

These nicknames, used by King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort for each other, were a big part of The Crown, season four, on Netflix.

The monikers were apparently first used by them when they dated briefly in their twenties.

But when Charles was set to marry Diana, he is said to have given Camilla a bracelet with ‘GF’ engraved on it, meaning Gladys and Fred.

Beabea

Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice are very close.

The former often shares touching messages to her older sister Beatrice on Instagram around birthdays or when the royal has big news.

She uses ‘Bea’ or ‘Beabea’ when referring to her big sister, and often accompanies it with an emoji, of a bee, of course.

Meanwhile, Beatrice is less open on her social media, so we may never know how she refers to her little sister.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Sisters Eugenie and Beatrice are close. (Getty Images)

Lottie, or Mignonette

Princess Charlotte is already racking up royal nicknames from her parents.

Her mother, the Princess of Wales, was overheard referring to her daughter as ‘Lottie’ while on an engagement in Northern Ireland. She has also been heard calling her daughter ‘poppet’.

But the grandest nickname comes from her father who calls her ‘Mignonette’.

In a video of the family of five playing in the duchess’ Chelsea Flower Show garden, he was heard calling “Mignonette”, which Charlotte responded to with a “yeah?”.

It might come from the French word Mignon which means small and delicate.

PG or Tips

According to Vanity Fair, Prince George was referred to by his initials, PG, at his previous school: Thomas’s, Battersea.

It was then revealed that his parents had decided to play with this and called him PG Tips, after the tea brand, or just ‘Tips’.

WOKINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Prince George and Princess Charlotte attend The King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club on July 10, 2019 in Wokingham, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
George and Charlotte have already picked up nicknames. (Getty Images)

Cath

While many people still refer to the Princess of Wales as Kate, apparently her brother-in-law Prince Harry decided he wanted his own name for her.

The prince was reported to have started calling her Cath, an alternative shortening of Catherine.

She was quizzed about it in 2017 during an interview on BBC Radio 1. Presenter Scott Mills put the nickname to her – and while she did not confirm it, she also didn’t deny it.

“I’m not sure, I’m not that familiar with it,” the then-duchess told the broadcaster. “I’ll answer to most things though.”

Tungsten

Prince Charles started calling the Duchess of Sussex ‘Tungsten’ in her early royal days, according to the Daily Mail.

A source said: “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. It’s become a term of endearment.”

The nickname came because he saw her as strong and unbending, like the rare metal, apparently.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 23: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visit  the District 6 Museum and Homecoming Centre during their royal tour of South Africa on September 23, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. District 6 was a former inner-city residential area where different communities and races lived side by side, until 1966 when the Apartheid government declared the area whites-only and 60,000 residents were forcibly removed and relocated.  (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Meghan and Harry call each other Meg and Haz, or M and H. (Getty Images)

Flower

Talking of the Duchess of Sussex, her mother Doria Ragland has her own adorable nickname for her daughter that has stuck since childhood.

According to the Express, the duchess revealed on her now-closed blog The Tig – prior to joining the Royal Family – that she calls her ‘Flower’.

Then, during an episode of her Spotify podcast Archetypes in November 2022, she shared: “My mom still calls me Flower. I’ll be a 41-year-old Flower. That’s fine.”

Fergie

One of the most famous royal nicknames belongs to Sarah Ferguson, who has been known as Fergie for years.

Even as the Duchess of York, the title she was given when she married Prince Andrew, she has more commonly been known as Fergie.

It was also revealed to be a family nickname when Meghan used it during her interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

Recalling learning how to curtsy before having a meal with the Yorks and the Queen, she said: “Right in front of the house we practiced and ran in. Fergie ran out and said, ‘Do you know how to curtsy?’

“Apparently I did a very deep curtsy, I don’t remember it, and then we sat there and we chatted.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York attends the BFI Luminous Fundraising Gala at The Roundhouse on October 01, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Sarah Ferguson has always been affectionately known as Fergie. (Getty Images)

Wombat

Princess Diana called her oldest son Wombat, according to Prince William himself.

He confessed to the nickname from his late mum in 2007 when he was interviewed by NBC.

The prince said: “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.”

Babe

Showing that sometimes a general term of affection is all that’s needed, the Princess of Wales reportedly once called her husband ‘babe’ in public.

While the couple were at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016, Prince William was asking about a Buxus plant, to which the princess is said to have told him: “Babe, we’ve got those. We’ve got loads of those.”

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