For many older people across the world, there are few more rewarding roles than being a grandparent. Queen Elizabeth can probably attest to that too, as she currently has eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren in her family. So with that in mind, we’ve compiled a series of photographs showing the royal grandmother in action.
20. Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Snow can be both a blessing and a curse, as the picturesque results can sometimes mask the dangers that come with it. Yet despite this, plenty of people – especially children – enjoy taking walks in the white stuff. Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, was evidently no different during his younger years, as this photograph of him stepping outside one winter’s day proves.
In the image, taken on December 29, 1985, Queen Elizabeth, Phillips’ grandma, joins him for the occasion. Wrapped up in a brown fur coat, the sovereign also wears a bright smile on her face, matching that of her grandson. The pair were spending time at the royal family’s Sandringham Estate located in Norfolk, England.
19. A Day Out with Grandma
Family outings are important, and often memorable, activities for all children and their parental figures. And grandparents can play pivotal roles in these day trips as well, as they might add another dynamic to the group. This is seemingly no different for the royals too, as a photo shows Queen Elizabeth joining her royal kin in May 1985.
Alongside her daughter, Princess Anne, the Queen is standing between her grandchildren Peter and Zara Phillips in a field, armed with a pair of binoculars. The quartet are watching that year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show, an annual event that began back in 1943. In May 2019, in fact, the show will celebrate its 76th anniversary.
18. Family bonding
For younger children, of course, visits to museums can be incredibly informative and interesting. When the kids are flanked by their families, though, the experiences can potentially be even more significant. And this was probably the case in January 1988 when the royal family took a trip to Sandringham Museum.
In the resulting picture, Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, join son Prince Charles and his then-wife, Princess Diana, with four grandchildren in tow. While looking at an old fire engine, in fact, the sovereign stands next to Peter Phillips and a very young Prince Harry. Just ahead of them are Zara Phillips and Prince William, both seemingly fascinated by the vintage vehicle.
17. A clear view
It goes without saying that inside a large family unit different members can experience varying degrees of connection with their relatives. Sometimes, then, the relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter can be quite strong. And it seems that, on the above photographic evidence, Queen Elizabeth might understand this exact point.
On May 10, 1991, the monarch was in fact photographed at another Royal Windsor Horse Show. And this time she is with a young Princess Beatrice and surrounded by a crowd of people. The oldest daughter of Prince Andrew, Beatrice is standing next to her grandmother on a metal gate, with the Queen pointing something out to their left.
16. A royal night out
Family nights out can be memorable for a variety of reasons, not least because they can give people chances to catch up with their relatives. In that respect, the royal family appear somewhat similar to the rest of us. And as a case in point, in November 2015 Queen Elizabeth shared a warm moment with grandson Prince William at a special event.
In the image, the Queen and William are attending the Festival of Remembrance. The yearly event is held at the Royal Albert Hall on the night before Remembrance Sunday, honoring those who died in wartime. Appropriately enough, then, the royals are pictured wearing poppies attached to their outfits.
15. Kiss from a prince
Some people can feel uncomfortable expressing familial love with kisses and physical contact. But in this photo from May 2015 Prince Harry tossed aside any embarrassment when he shared a kiss with his grandma. And the following year he also shared some kind words about Queen Elizabeth in a special documentary titled Our Queen at Ninety.
“I look at the Commonwealth and think, ‘Look how much it’s achieved,’” Harry said in the footage. “[Queen Elizabeth] should be incredibly proud of what she’s led and what she’s achieved and what she’s created amongst a huge amount of people from different ethnic backgrounds, different skin colors, different experiences, different islands – whatever it be. Hats off to her; it’s incredible.”
14. Grandparents unite
Much like birthdays or weddings, christenings bring big families together. The royal family are no different in that respect, as they gathered in force for Princess Charlotte’s ceremony in July 2015. The daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Charlotte was born some two months prior to the occasion.
As the family arrive outside the church in Norfolk, then, we see Queen Elizabeth looking over her great-granddaughter. She isn’t the only one, though, as Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, follows suit, gazing upon the young princess. With the Duchess of Cambridge holding on to Charlotte, there are actually four generations of royalty together here.
13. “Big Smile!”
Holding a young child’s attention can be incredibly challenging even at the best of times. Grandparents can often be very helpful in that regard, however, utilizing the vast experiences gained from looking after their own children. And Queen Elizabeth put her own skills to the test outside Buckingham Palace in June 2015.
While standing on the palace’s balcony, you see, the Queen is joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George. The little prince was also later captured looking up in the sky while his great-grandma tries to divert his attention with a big smile. Evidently, then, a grandparent is always ready to spring into action, regardless of the location.
12. Reading with grandma
There are many different activities that a grandparent could get up to with their grandchild, whether it be strenuous or more laid back. In this photo from May 1987, then, Queen Elizabeth has opted for the latter while sitting with her granddaughter Zara Phillips at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The pair are reading together, in fact, with Phillips seemingly fully engaged.
Phillips went on to pursue a career in horse riding, of course, following in the footsteps of her mother, Princess Anne. Impressively, the royal took home the World Eventing Championship title in 2006 and also won the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year award that December. In 2012, though, Phillips enjoyed her greatest success when she earned a silver medal at the London Olympics.
11. A royal visit
School is an integral part of a young person’s life, regardless of where they come from. And as with most institutions, there will come a time when parents or guardians are invited to see what their child has been getting up to. In Peter Phillips’ case, though, he faced a rather unique situation.
In February 1991, you see, Queen Elizabeth paid Phillips a visit at Port Regis, a boarding school located in Shaftesbury, England. Clad in his black uniform, the youngster is subsequently captured showing some of his work to his grandmother, who watches on with interest. It’s not everyday that you see a monarch stood in a workshop, after all.
10. Practice makes perfect
For most parents, the skills that they pick up while caring for their children likely don’t diminish with time. And as a result, they’re able to fully utilize those special abilities when they eventually become grandparents. Queen Elizabeth has also certainly had plenty of practice in this regard, as she’s given birth to four royal kids.
Yep, following the arrivals of Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew, Elizabeth had her last child, Prince Edward, in 1964. And some two years on from that, the sovereign was snapped with young Edward sat on her knee, just behind a smiling Charles. Yet as proved in her later years, the Queen would be dealing with royal babies for many decades to come.
9. Smile for the Sovereign
The relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild can be incredibly special, as we’ve seen. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry appear to share that kind of bond too, a fact proved by this photo taken at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst back in 2006. It’s clear in this snap, after all, that Harry certainly has a lot of admiration for his grandma.
Harry even expressed as much in the documentary Our Queen at Ninety when he considered that the Queen had been the young age of 21 when she’d ascended to the throne. “It’s just incredible to know that someone at that age appreciated and understood exactly what was expected of them,” he said. “And to basically put duty ahead of everything else so early on in her life is quite remarkable.”
8. Grandma’s a winner!
Back in 1711 Queen Anne established the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England. And some 300 years later, its main event, the Royal Ascot, remains one of the most famous British sporting events in the calendar. The royal family still have close ties to the racecourse too, with Queen Elizabeth attending the annual June races.
In 2016, in fact, one of Queen Elizabeth’s horses won a race at the Royal Ascot, and this event led to a rather touching moment. You see, Princess Beatrice presented her grandmother, the Queen, with a trophy to celebrate the victory. The pair were then photographed with beaming smiles on their faces as they look upon the prestigious prize.
7. Spending quality time with the grandkids
While Prince Harry no doubt shares a close bond with Queen Elizabeth, his brother, Prince William, seemingly harbors enormous admiration for his grandma too. Here, for instance, the monarch is smiling with her two grandsons at the 2013 Trooping the Colour. And William also hailed her influence on him in the Our Queen at Ninety documentary.
“Growing up, having this figurehead, having this stability above me has been incredible,” William said in the 2016 special. “I have been able to explore, understand, slightly carve my own path. I greatly appreciate and value that protection.” Harry then added, “I have been asking her for years what her secret is, but she won’t tell me.”
6. A day of polo
Much like she did with Princess Beatrice and Zara Phillips, the Queen has seemingly found an activity with which to bond with her grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry. In this June 1987 picture, then, the monarch is watching a game of polo alongside the young pair, who are looking fully engaged. And there is potentially a reason behind that.
Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, had been a polo player during his younger years, you see. And Prince Charles also took an interest as a youngster. Perhaps as a result of that, then, William and Harry followed suit as they got older, deepening the royal family’s connection to the game.
5. Grandma’s approval
Here’s a quick recap of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s love story. Back in 2001, you see, Prince William met future wife Kate Middleton at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The pair then became romantically involved the following year before getting engaged in November 2010. And a few months later, the royals tied the knot in one of the biggest events of 2011.
In the years since then, the duke and duchess have of course started a young family of their own. The pair are now the proud parents of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, in fact. And as shown in this 2012 picture of Middleton and Queen Elizabeth, the monarch clearly has no issues with her grandson’s choice of partner.
4. Given a helping hand
During their formative years, children are often taught to respect their elders, including their grandparents. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are no different, it would seem, as the sisters helped Queen Elizabeth with some items outside a church on the day after Christmas in 2004. On that note, Prince Andrew’s youngest daughter has also revealed some interesting information about her grandmother.
According to Eugenie, Elizabeth is more comfortable staying at Balmoral Castle, the royal family’s Scottish residence, than anywhere else. “It’s the most beautiful place on earth,” she told Our Queen At Ninety. “I think Granny is the most happy there; I think she really, really loves the Highlands. Walks, picnics, dogs – a lot of dogs, there’s always dogs! – and people coming in and out all the time.”
3. A royal tour
Since being crowned back in 1953, Queen Elizabeth has overseen any number of grand openings. In July 2016, for instance, she attended the opening of the East Anglian Air Ambulance base in Cambridge, England. She was met by a very familiar face that day, however, as Prince William gave her a royal tour of the area.
While William himself was one of the co-pilots for that organization at the time, there might have been another reason why he was entrusted with the Queen’s tour. “A lot of people get very excited and sort of nervous around her,” he said in Our Queen at Ninety. “And I’ve seen some very comical moments. I’ve seen people literally faint in front of her.”
2. One big family gathering
Large family gatherings can obviously be hugely enjoyable events, giving relatives plenty of opportunities to reconnect. The royals could no doubt relate to that in November 2007, as Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles fronted a special dinner. The get-together actually marked Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 60th wedding anniversary.
So, as the royal family gathered in London, England, they all posed for a group photograph with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip taking center stage. All four of their children are in attendance as well as six of their grandchildren. Since then, the pair have also celebrated their platinum anniversary, which occurred in November 2017.
1. The first of many
Becoming a parent for the first time is one of the most significant moments in a person’s life. From that point on, after all, a parent is responsible for the well-being of their child, guiding them through the good times and the bad. The role of a grandparent is also important, of course.
Queen Elizabeth could undoubtedly attest to that too. Here, then, she is pictured in December 1977 standing over her first grandchild, Peter Phillips. Throughout the next few decades, the number of grandchildren only grew, of course, with Princes Charles, Andrew and Edward having children of their own. And now, the Queen is a great-grandmother of seven, with an eighth on the way in 2019.