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Inside Queen’s ‘passionate’ relationship with her grandchildren

To everyone around her, she is “Your Majesty” or “Madame”, but to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the Queen is simply: “Gan-gan”.

And Queen Elizabeth is loving the moniker, taking on her role – which sees her delighted in choosing gifts for her 12 great-grandchildren, teaching them to ride horses and even having fun in the pool at Buckingham Palace – very seriously.

When the Queen came to the throne in 1952 she was a young mum to Charles and Anne, and even after Andrew and Edward arrived a combination of strict nannies and royal duties meant she didn’t have much time for her children.

It was very different when she became “Granny” in 1977 with the birth of Peter Philips and adored him, her sister Zara, Prince William, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

The 96-year-old has also become particularly close to her youngest grandchildren, Lady Louise, 18, and James, Viscount Severn, 14 – the children of Prince Edward and Sophie, who regularly visit her at Castle Windsor.

A former courtier observed: “The Queen is very fond of her family and enjoys having them around her, especially the grandchildren and great-grandchildren as they grow older.”

Find out more about surprise gifts from the Queen.

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