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Meaning of Prince George's Nickname For the Queen

The Hidden Meaning of Prince George's Nickname For the Queen

Prince William looks on as Prince George greets the queen in July 2015 at Sandringham in England. Image Source: Getty / Chris Jackson

In honour of Queen Elizabeth of Britain's 90th birthday in April, her family agreed to do a rare round of interviews about her life and legacy for a BBC film called Our Queen at 90. The documentary features personal footage of the family, as well as candid conversations with Prince William; his wife, Kate; Prince Charles; and many more of their relatives.

Among the many sweet things revealed about the queen was something in relation to her great-grandson Prince George, William and Kate's young son. According to Kate, Prince George calls her majesty by the nickname "Gan-Gan." Kate's admission sent the internet into a tizzy, as royal fans around the world reacted to the sweet — and surprisingly normal — level of informality between the royal relations.


It turns out, though, that there is a deeper, more meaningful reason behind George's nickname for the queen.

"Gan-Gan" is a designation that generations of royals have used to describe their great-grandmothers. According to royal biographer Kitty Kelley, Prince Charles used the term to refer to his great-grandmother Queen Mary, the mother of Queen Elizabeth's father King George VI. Princes William and Harry actually called the queen's mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, "Gan-Gan" until her death in 2002. Harry even let his nickname for his great-grandmother slip during his own cameo in Our Queen at 90.

If there's one thing we know, it's that the royals love tradition. And George's sweet nickname for the queen is the latest in a long line of royal customs.

Princes William and Harry with their mother, Princess Diana, and great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in June 1998 at London's Buckingham Palace. Image Source: Getty / Anwar Hussein

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