Heritage

All the Quirky Nicknames of the British Royal Family

Can you guess which member was called “Wombat” by his mother?
IMAGE RICKY WILSON/ NASA/BILL INGALLS/ E.J. HERSOM/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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Members of the royal family hold a number of official titles and honorifics with their equally long names. But just like us, they go by different names at home, and sometimes silly pet names or completely different names at that. From “Steve” to “Squeak,” here are the adorable and intriguing names the members of the royal family go by:

Queen Elizabeth

Nicknames: Tillabet, Lilibet, Cabbage, and Gan-Gan


To most of us, she is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but to a few close family members and friends, the Queen goes by different names. When the Queen was a wee princess who couldn’t pronounce her own name, she gave herself the name “Tillabet,” which eventually evolved into “Lilibet.” The name stuck and she is still known as Lilibet by a select few. Her husband, Prince Philip sometimes calls her this but has been to known to call the Queen “cabbage.” The origin of the pet name is unclear but it sounds like a term of endearment, nonetheless.

Meanwhile, little Prince George refers to his great-grandmother as “Gan-Gan” and when Prince William was tot who couldn’t quite pronounce “Granny,” he alternatively called her “Gary.”

Prince Charles

Nicknames: Pa, Fred


When Prince Harry interviewed his father over a radio program, he began the interview by calling the Prince of Wales “Pa.”

To his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, he goes by another, completely different name—Fred. As far back as Princess Diana’s interview tapes, the Prince’s first wife revealed that “someone in his office told me that my husband had a bracelet made for her [Camilla], which she wears to this day.” Intriguingly, the gold chain bracelets contained the letters ‘G’ and ‘F’ entwined on it, which stand for “Gladys” and “Fred,” the royal couple’s codenames for each other.

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Prince William

Nicknames: Wills, Wombat, Steve


William earned the moniker “Wombat” from his late mother, Diana. He and Harry were on Dateline being interviewed by NBC News anchor Matt Lauer in 2007 when the show’s host asked William what he thought about his nickname. “It kind of stuck with me. I can’t get rid of it now,” the prince said. He further elaborated that he got the name after a trip to Australia, explaining, “Not because I look like a wombat. Or maybe I do.”

Later in life, Prince William went by “Wills,” which many friends still call him today. Back in university, Prince William went by the codename “Steve” while enrolled at St. Andrews in Scotland. It was purely for security reasons.

Prince Harry

Nicknames: Spike Wells, Ginger


On the same interview with NBC News that Prince William was on more than a decade ago, the elder prince revealed that his mother called her youngest son, “Ginger.” And there are records to prove that Prince William still teases his brother with the name during brotherly banter.

“Spike Wells” was a name Prince Harry gave himself on Facebook. He went by that pseudonym for four years before he had to take the page down. There’s really no escaping the security risks tied to social media once you’re a royal.

Duchess Kate

Nicknames: Poppet, Squeak


While Duchess Kate already goes by a nickname—Kate is short for Catherine—she had an adorable nickname back at school. She was known as “Squeak” among her classmates, which was the same name as the school’s pet guinea pig, while her sister Pippa was called “Pip.”

Prince William usually calls his wife by her full name, Catherine, but sometimes slips and calls her by another name. Once a secret, his pet name for his wife is public information now after he’s been heard calling her “poppet” multiple times, according to Express.

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Prince George

Nickname: Georgie

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Could Prince George’s nickname be any cuter? His grandfather Prince Charles gave him the name, and said back in 2013 that the young prince would be called Georgie “in no time,” reports Telegraph.

Meghan Markle

Nickname: Flower

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This bonus entry—because she’s not officially a member of the royal family yet—was discovered on Markle’s now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig, where she revealed that her mother Doria Ragland calls her “Flower.” She quoted her own mother, who once told her: “I don’t know, Flower. You were just born that way.” We have yet to figure out what Prince Harry calls her behind closed doors.

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Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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