Before June 2021, only devout royal followers had probably ever heard of the name “Lilibet.”
Growing up, Lilibet was Her Majesty’s childhood nickname, one “fondly adopted as a moniker by the Queen’s grandparents and parents during her early childhood when she struggled to pronounce her name, calling herself Lilibet instead,” The Mirror reports.
The name became well-known in pop culture—to royal followers and beyond—when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle opted to name their daughter Lilibet Diana, after the Queen and, of course, the late Princess of Wales. She was born June 4, 2021.
But you might be surprised to learn that no one calls the Queen “Lilibet” anymore—and it has nothing to do with baby Lili, who just turned a year old last weekend.
The Queen’s late husband Prince Philip—who died at 99 years old in April 2021—was the last person to use the nickname. He had known Her Majesty since she was a young girl, and, like her family did, took to calling her the nickname, as well. Now that Philip has passed and all of the Queen’s older family members who knew her as a child are gone, the nickname left with Philip, the outlet reports.
According to The Daily Star (via The Mirror), the then Princess Elizabeth would often sign off letters with “Lilibet,” including in a thank you note addressed to her grandmother, Queen Mary, which reads “Darling Granny, Thank you very much for the lovely doll’s house. I do love it, and I have unpacked the dining room and the hall. Love from Lilibet xxx.”
Her Majesty’s beloved father, King George VI, has been quoted as saying “Lilibet is my pride. Margaret is my joy,” referring to the Queen’s younger sister, Princess Margaret.
Movingly, in a handwritten note left atop the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin at his funeral last April, the Queen appeared to have heartbreakingly signed it from Lilibet. The couple were married for over 73 years.
That said, Her Majesty still has other nicknames she goes by: she is “Mummy” to Prince Charles, “who referred to her as this during his speech for her 92nd birthday, which saw her roll her eyes and laugh along with the amused audience,” The Mirror reports. Prince William and Prince Harry were spotted cheering on their “Granny” as her stunt double parachuted into the stadium during the 2012 London Olympics. And the Duchess of Cambridge revealed that Prince George and Princess Charlotte call their great-grandmother “Gan-Gan.”
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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