Queen Elizabeth Once Let Slip Which Child of Prince William and Princess Kate Rules the Roost

And, years later, nothing’s really changed.

Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty)

Now, granted, when Queen Elizabeth surprisingly revealed which one of the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children ruled the roost back in January 2018, William and Kate’s third child, Prince Louis, hadn’t been born yet. (He’d arrive three months later, on April 23 of that year.) That said—we’re willing to bet that the answer to the question “Which of the three kids rules the roost?” would be the exact same answer today as it was when Her late Majesty let this detail slip years ago.

Queen Elizabeth in blue at a royal wedding

Queen Elizabeth was a proud mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

William and Kate are now the Prince and Princess of Wales after the late Queen’s death in September 2022; the family, who now use the Wales surname, is comprised of 10-year-old Prince George, nine-year-old Princess Charlotte, and six-year-old Louis. And, according to Queen Elizabeth, it’s Charlotte that’s in charge.

The late Queen made her comments when George was four and Charlotte just two, but even then she had a protective streak over her brother (and now brothers, plural). Per The Mirror, it didn’t matter then that George is older, or that George is the heir to the throne—it’s Charlotte who runs the show. 

Princess Charlotte

George may be the heir to the throne, but even Her late Majesty confirmed that it's Charlotte that's in charge.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Charlotte “is known as being a confident and self-assured young girl, which has been evident from an early age among those closest to her,” The Mirror reports. Back in January 2018, the Queen was presenting a book to 10-year-old Emily Clay, Town & Country reports. When Emily was asked if she looked after her younger sister, Emily’s mother replied “It’s the other way around,” to which Her late Majesty responded “It’s like that with Charlotte and George.”

Princess Charlotte at the Platinum Jubilee

George and Charlotte, seen here at the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was a rare quip from the monarch about her great-grandchildren, and nothing changed after Louis was born three months later. “She is particularly protective of her younger sibling, Prince Louis,” The Mirror writes. “In a photo released by William and Kate for Charlotte’s third birthday, [she] cradled baby Louis in her lap and kissed her sleeping brother’s head.” 

When Louis was christened later in the year in 2018, Charlotte doted on her baby brother—“While everyone else looks at the camera and smiles, Charlotte was focused on Louis as she held his hand,” the outlet reports. Five years later, in 2023, Charlotte held hands with her baby brother as they walked in Westminster Abbey at their grandfather King Charles’ Coronation that May, sitting side-by-side to one another in the front row. “Charlotte is known to look after her brothers while on royal engagements—and has even made sure they follow royal protocol,” The Mirror reports. At the Coronation, “Charlotte then proved to be a reassuring presence for her lively younger brother, who was seen stifling a few yawns during the historic ceremony,” the publication continued. “Charlotte is seen to take on a leading role over her siblings in family engagements,” and that self-confidence will continue to grow, former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond said.

Prince Louis at the Coronation

Charlotte and Louis at their grandfather's Coronation last May.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Louis at the Coronation

Charlotte has always been protective over both of her brothers, but especially her younger brother Louis.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Charlotte strikes me as quite a confident young lady but, with two brothers, she will no doubt be looking to her mother and other women in the family as role models—from her great-grandmother the Queen to her own mum [Kate],” Bond said. “All three children have a claim to think of themselves as pretty special to their parents: George because he is the heir, Charlotte because she’s the only girl, and Louis because he’s the youngest. Charlotte is reaching the age when she can really appreciate her mother’s sense of style and they can share ‘girlie’ moments together. Catherine also provides the perfect role model for how to behave as a senior member of the royal family.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.