The Queen in the words of her family: 'Behind closed doors, she's our grandmother' – Sky News
Members of the Royal Family have spoken fondly about the Queen over the years, remembering her not just as a monarch but as a mother and grandmother.
By Tom Gillespie, news reporter
Friday 9 September 2022 09:19, UK
The Queen was the country’s head of state for nearly seven decades, but she will be remembered by her family as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Her Majesty has left behind four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-children. She was an aunt to one niece and one nephew and had no fewer than 31 first cousins.
As the country mourns the Queen, who died at 96, we take a look at what those who loved her dearest said about her during her reign.
The Queen and Prince Philip were married for 74 years, with Her Majesty describing the Duke of Edinburgh as being her “strength and stay” during her time as head of state.
For many across the country, their partnership was one of the comforting mainstays of British life through the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.
In 1946, a year after the end of the Second World War, Prince Philip expressed his love for the Queen in a heartfelt letter in which he wrote: “To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to readjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one’s personal and even the world’s troubles seem small and petty.”
More than 50 years later, when the royal couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, Philip said: “The main lesson we’ve learned is that tolerance is the essential ingredient of any happy marriage.
“It may not be quite so important when things are going well but is absolutely vital when things get difficult.
“You can take it from me, that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”
The Queen’s eldest child and the heir to the throne enjoyed a very close relationship with his mother.
As he becomes head of state, we can expect to him to share many of the same qualities as Her Majesty, as he famously one said: “I learned the way a monkey learns, by watching its parents.”
During a speech to mark her Platinum Jubilee in 2022, he paid tribute to his “mummy”.
“You have met us and talked with us. You laugh and cry with us and, most importantly, you have been there for us, for these 70 years,” he said.
“You pledged to serve your whole life, you continue to deliver. On behalf of us all, I wanted to pay my own tribute to your lifetime of selfless service.”
The Queen’s only daughter told a BBC documentary to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016: “She was always an active person and I think she’s remained active, but she’s also remained curious, and mentally curious.”
She also said the Queen was neither an optimist or a pessimist about life, but rather a “genuine realist and a pragmatist”.
The Duke of York once said of his mother: “She is incredibly fit, but we remind staff that she’s not just the monarch, but our mother.”
He is also reported to have once said: “The Queen’s intelligence network is a hell of a lot better than anyone’s in this palace. Bar none. She knows everything. I don’t know how she does it. And she sees everything.”
In August 2021, Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson paid tribute to the Queen for always being her “greatest mentor” despite splitting from her son in 1996.
She said during a podcast: “I think to myself that honestly, my mother-in-law has been more of a mother to me than my mother.”
In a Sky News documentary marking the Queen’s 90th birthday, Her Majesty’s youngest child said of his mother’s service: “(Her) impact is immense, and because she has been this rock through all sorts of periods and times… there is a genuine love for the style and manner in which she has conducted herself. That engenders a huge amount of love but also respect.”
Prince Edward’s wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, said of the monarch’s relationship with her grandchildren: “She takes a genuine interest in them and loves to her what they have to say about the activities that that they’ve been doing… particularly Louise with riding, she loves the fact that Louise enjoys ponies.”
The Queen’s eldest grandson said a lot to about the Queen publicly during her reign.
In a 2012 interview with ABC News he shared a sentiment that many of us will know all too well when he said: “I learned from growing up, you don’t mess with your grandmother.”
He shed further light on this aspect of his relationship with the Queen in 2017 when he was asked about any funny memories he had of Her Majesty over the years.
He said: “There’s been plenty of moments, I think the earliest one which I can remember that has stuck in my mind for a long time was Peter, my cousin, and I were on a quad bike in Balmoral and we were chasing (his cousin) Zara around who was on a go kart.
“Peter and I managed to herd Zara into a lamppost and the lamppost came down and nearly squashed her, and I remember my grandmother being the first person out of Balmoral, running across the lawn in her kilt, and came charging over and gave us the most almighty b********g.
“And that really stuck in my mind from that moment on that I should be a bit more careful about what I’m doing and try not to kill my cousins.”
In the same interview with Sky’s Rhiannon Mills to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday, he said: “She puts family very much alongside her duty and her role and it’s what really makes her tick.
“She works very hard and she sees her service as very important, but behind closed doors she worries and minds an awful lot about the rest of the family, and wants to make sure everyone is happy and finding their own path and being a success.”
William also paid tribute to Her Majesty as a great-grandmother and said: “She’s always been extremely loving towards the children and I see that now with Charlotte and George, she’s very doting on the children, and likes to keep an eye on them, particularly Charlotte, she’s fascinated by what Charlotte gets up to.”
As he wished the Queen a happy 90th birthday, William said: “She has led where others have faltered, she’s just been the most incredible grandmother to me, and I wish her a very happy 90th birthday.
“I hope she realises how fond everyone is of her.”
The Duke of Sussex told ABC News in 2012: “Behind closed doors, she’s our grandmother, it’s as simple as that.”
In 2021, a year after stepping back from senior royal duties, Harry paid tribute to Her Majesty in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
He said: “I’ve spoken more to my grandmother in the last year than I have done for many, many years. My grandmother and I have a really good relationship and an understanding… She’s my colonel-in-chief, right? She always will be.”
Harry’s wife Meghan also had kind words to say about the Queen when she said: “I mean, we had one of our first joint engagements together. She asked me to join her, and I went on the train. And we had breakfast together that morning and she gave me a beautiful gift and I just really loved being in her company.”
When the couple’s second daughter was born in 2021, they named her Lilibet in the Queen’s honour.
In 2019, the daughter of Princess Anne joked in a podcast about her close relationship with her grandmother, suggesting the Queen was perhaps more strict with other grandchildren.
She said: “I always get the good look. We are okay, I think we are alright.”
Andrew’s youngest daughter had a close bond with her dear “granny,” who she would frequently visits at the Royal Family’s Balmoral estate in Scotland.
She also told Tatler magazine how the Queen is a fashion inspiration for her and said: “Lots of my friends say, ‘Oh, she’s just the best style person there is, you know she looks great in her clothes. The style is something that is very unique to her.”
Sarah Chatto, the daughter of the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, told the BBC in 2016 how she had enjoyed a close relationship with her grandmother.
She said: “I feel very lucky to have had her as an aunt, she included my brother and I in holidays and her life really, we felt very lucky.”