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For most of her life, those closest to Queen Elizabeth II called her by her nickname “Lilibet.” When she fell in love with Prince Philip, he started using it along with others. Over the queen’s long life, people called her many things, but mother and longest-reigning monarch were two of her most important titles.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II during their honeymoon at Broadlands, Romsey, Hampshire in 1947.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II | Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

King George VI and the Queen Mother gave Queen Elizabeth II her first nickname

When Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926, the royal family gave her her first nickname, “Lilibet.” Her parents, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and King George VI, started calling her that when she was a young child and struggled to say her own name.

According to Marie Claire, her father used to say: “Lilibet is my pride. Margaret is my joy.” Soon, the entire royal family, including the queen’s grandparents, “fondly adopted” “Lilibet.”

Meanwhile, the queen’s uncle, the Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, and his wife Wallis Simpson called their niece “Shirley Temple.” 

Throughout her childhood, “Lilibet” stuck. She signed “Lilibet” on a thank you note addressed to her grandmother, Queen Mary: “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.”

When Queen Elizabeth II began her relationship with Prince Philip, he also called her by her first nickname. Following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death in 2021, the queen wrote a handwritten note signed “Lilibet” on the envelope and placed it atop his coffin at his funeral.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, named their daughter Lilibet Diana in 2021.

Prince Philip gave Queen Elizabeth II a hilarious nickname

“Lilibet” was one of her cutest, but Queen Elizabeth II also had a hilarious nickname.

According to Marie Claire, Prince Philip called his wife “Cabbage.” The strange nickname is thought to have come from the French term, “Mon petit chou,” which translates to “My little cabbage.”

Express writes that the French use “Mon petit chou” to refer to someone as “my darling,” but it can also be translated as “my little pastry puff.”

Royal author Robert Lacey told the Sunday Times, “Yes, I’ve heard that is how he will sometimes refer to her.”

Peter Morgan (creator of The Crown) used the nickname in a scene between the monarch and her husband in his 2006 film, The Queen. Considering the queen’s sense of humor, she was likely OK with “Cabbage.”


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The monarch’s most important nicknames

Besides “Lilibet” and “Cabbage,” Queen Elizabeth II’s most important nicknames were “Mummy” and “Granny.”

Although, her family gave her other heartwarming and hilarious nicknames over the years. When Prince William and Prince Harry were little, they called their grandmother “Gary” because they couldn’t say “Granny” yet.

According to Express, columnist Richard Kay wrote: “A guest who went to help asked who Gary was, assuming it must be a member of the royal household. ‘I’m Gary,’ responded the Queen. He hasn’t learned to say Granny yet.'”

Like his father, Prince William, Prince George also came up with an adorable nickname for the queen. He called his great-grandmother “Gan-Gan.”

Outside of her family, Nelson Mandela gave Queen Elizabeth II the nickname “Motlalepula,” which means “come with the rain” (per Africa News). During her 1965 visit, the queen arrived with torrential rain.

Whatever her family and friends called her, Queen Elizabeth II was known to the world as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Someone who was a constant inspiration in their lives.