Prince Charles Came Up with Prince George’s Nickname for the Queen

Prince George and Princess Charlotte call the Queen "Gan-Gan." Prince Charles apparently coined the nickname as a child for his own grandmother.

london, united kingdom june 13 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 48 hours after create date and time prince william, duke of cambridge, prince george of cambridge, catherine, duchess of cambridge and queen elizabeth ii stand on the balcony of buckingham palace during trooping the colour on june 13, 2015 in london, england the ceremony is queen elizabeth ii's annual birthday parade and dates back to the time of charles ii in the 17th century, when the colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle photo by max mumbyindigogetty images
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)
  • Queen Elizabeth's great-grandchildren have an adorable nickname for her: "Gan-Gan."
  • Although the nickname has become famous among royal fans as the Cambridge kids' name for the Queen, it was actually coined two generations earlier in the royal family.
  • A brochure from Prince Charles' 1969 investiture as the Prince of Wales revealed that Charles came up with the nickname for his own grandmother, Queen Mary.

Queen Elizabeth (opens in new tab) might be "Your Majesty" to most people, but to her great-grandkids, she goes by a much simpler (and more adorable) moniker: Gan-Gan.

Kate Middleton (opens in new tab) shared that adorable tidbit with the world during her first solo interview in 2016, according to The Sun (opens in new tab). At the time, Prince George (opens in new tab) was the only royal kid using the nickname, but his sister, Princess Charlotte (opens in new tab), reportedly uses it now, too.

"George is only two-and-a-half and he calls her 'Gan-Gan,'" Kate explained. "She always leaves a little gift or something in their room when we go and stay and that just shows her love for her family."

The nickname's origins go even further back in the royal family's history though. According to Express, the nickname traces its roots back to George's grandpa, Prince Charles (opens in new tab), who came up with the name when he was a kid.

The paper cited a souvenir brochure from Charles' 1969 investiture (opens in new tab) as the Prince of Wales when sharing the story of "Gan-Gan's" origins.

"His mother spent as much time with her son as her duties allowed and part of the day was always devoted to him," the brochure read (opens in new tab). "Often, he was taken to visit Queen Mary—whom he called Gan-Gan—at Marlborough House and the Queen—later known as the Queen Mother—as Buckingham Palace."

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Kayleigh Roberts
Kayleigh Roberts

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.