Her Majesty’s Sweet Tradition for When the Cambridge Kids Stay Overnight

She may be Queen, but she’s also a proud “Gan Gan.”

Prince George Princess Charlotte
(Image credit: Getty Images)

She may be the Queen of the United Kingdom and all Commonwealth realms, but, to a handful of kiddos, she’s just “Gan Gan.”

That’s what Her Majesty’s 12 great-grandchildren call her, and the phrase “to [great-] grandmother’s house we go” takes on a whole new meaning when that house is, well, Windsor Castle (or Buckingham Palace, or Balmoral Castle, or Sandringham House). And, according to the Mirror—and the Duchess of Cambridge—the Queen has a sweet tradition for when her great-grandchildren come to stay, leaving “special treats” to “show her love” for them.

“[The Queen] always leaves a little gift or something in their room when we go and stay, and that just shows her love for her family,” Kate says on the ITV documentary Our Queen at 90.

And, while the Queen probably doesn’t play favorites when it comes to her great-grandchildren, Kate says Her Majesty has a special fondness for Princess Charlotte (who, by the way, is her doppelganger): “The Queen was really thrilled that it was a little girl,” Kate days. “I think as soon as we came back here to Kensington, she was one of our first visitors here. I think she’s very fond of Charlotte. She’s always watching what she’s up to.”

In the same documentary, Kate praised the Queen’s “thoughtfulness, really, and her care in looking after everybody.”

And, speaking of her great-grandkids, today we are set to see 10 of the Queen’s 12 great-grandchildren take part in the Royal Windsor Horse Show’s “Gallop Through History” carriage procession, which the Queen will hopefully attend. (Archie and Lili, still in California before heading to the Platinum Jubilee next month, are the two great-grandchildren that won’t be there; the Queen’s youngest granddaughter, Lady Louise, will emulate her late grandfather Prince Philip and drive the carriage in a touching tribute.) The great-grandchildren have been spotted practicing for this meaningful appearance in the preceding weeks.

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.