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What does the Queen call her husband?

The relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip has captivated the public for decades. As the longest reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Philip lasted an incredible 73 years until his passing in 2021 at age 99. Their enduring union prompted much curiosity over what nickname or term of endearment the Queen used for her beloved husband in private. Let’s explore the possibilities and traditions around how the Queen may have affectionately addressed her spouse.

The Intimate Nature of Nicknames

Nicknames are highly personal and can reveal much about the nature of a relationship. The act of bestowing a nickname signifies intimacy, trust, and affection. Sharing private nicknames is reserved for the closest of confidants and loved ones. As the intensely private and dignified figureheads of the British Monarchy, the Queen and Prince Philip guarded details of their life behind palace doors. Throughout their seven decades of marriage, they presented a united front as devoted partners in public. However, they maintained a certain air of mystery around whether they used pet names in their most tender moments out of the spotlight.

Traditional Royal Address

According to royal etiquette and precedent, there are formal rules the Queen must follow when addressing other members of the royal family in public. In official or formal settings, she refers to her male relatives by their full name and title. Some examples are “Philip” when speaking directly to her husband, “Charles” for her son Prince Charles, and “William” for her grandson. She has never been heard using nicknames or shorthand in her public speeches or statements. However, some speculate that in private moments among family, Elizabeth may relax the formalities and use more casual nicknames or terms of endearment.

Historical Precedent

Though the inner workings of the Queen’s marriage remain shrouded in mystery, looking back at how previous royal couples addressed one another provides possible clues. Letters have revealed that Queen Victoria affectionately called her husband Prince Albert “dearest” or “dearest Albert.” Edward VIII referred to his wife Wallis Simpson as “darling” in their private correspondence. Queen Elizabeth’s own parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) called each other “darling.” These examples indicate that even the most proper royal couples use sweet terms like “darling” behind closed doors.

Known Public Nicknames

Though nicknames for Prince Philip are never uttered by the Queen in public, he did have a few lighthearted monikers among family or close insiders that give some indication of his character. Known nicknames for the Prince include:

Nickname Context
Phil the Greek Referencing his Greek heritage as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark at birth
Stavros The Greek version of his given name Philip
Daddy Used affectionately by Princess Diana when married to Prince Charles

These nicknames portray the prince’s background and status as a beloved father figure among the royals. The Queen never publicly engaged in this informal style of address, keeping her relationship with Philip protective and proper.

Private Moments

For clues about private names or conversations between the Queen and her husband, one must look to accounts from trusted palace insiders. In 1994, royal biographer Gyles Brandreth claimed the Queen playfully used the nickname “Cabbage” for Philip in lighthearted moments. Though unconfirmed, “Cabbage” conveys familiarity and fondness. Other reports indicate Philip called Elizabeth by the nickname “Lilibet,” derived from her childhood inability to pronounce her own name. The intimate nature of nicknames implies that the Queen likely reserved any term of endearment for Prince Philip’s ears only.

Signs of Closeness

Rather than overt pet names, the Queen sometimes subtly hinted at her closeness with Prince Philip through actions or brief remarks. Breaking protocol at public events, she would occasionally gesture for Philip to walk ahead of her as an egalitarian gesture of respect between husband and wife. In a 1997 speech celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary, she touchingly stated about Philip: “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.”

Maintaining Mystique

The Queen’s discretion around how she addressed her husband in private maintains their air of dignity and mystery. She understands her role as monarch and the need to keep certain matters out of the public eye. Her commendable professionalism and restraint as head of the royal family extended to keeping any intimate nicknames or conversations with Philip private. That element of the unknown makes their long-lasting marriage all the more intriguing to observe from a respectful distance.

A Lasting Romance

Over the decades, the steadfast bond between the Queen and her beloved consort endured as a steadying force for the nation. While the Queen never commented publicly about any private sentiments or nicknames exchanged with her husband, their abiding affection glowed through in subtle gestures, glances, and remarks. This silent yet evident devotion sustained their marriage for 73 years as a heartening example of partnership, compromise, and friendship.

Now in her tenth decade of life, Queen Elizabeth faces the world without her lifelong companion at her side. However, the warmth of their many years together will live on in her heart and in the ongoing history of the British monarchy. The true depth of their commitment remains an honorable mystery. Yet the subtle clues of their closeness reveal a genuinely human love story for the ages – one built on mutual understanding rather than public grand displays.

The Queen’s discretion around her private communications with Prince Philip exemplifies their dignified grace and character. By maintaining a respectful boundary between public and private life, they preserved the most meaningful facets of their union in the quiet moments out of view. This prudent separation of private sentiment from public image allowed their authentic bond to take root and blossom. May the Queen now find comfort in cherished memories as she continues her royal duties with the spirit of Prince Philip supporting her still.


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip shared a powerful, lifelong partnership in leadership, family, and love. With careful elegance, they balanced their public role with precious moments out of the spotlight that remain known only to them. The Queen demonstrated utmost integrity by keeping private any affectionate names or exchanges reserved solely for her husband’s ears. This prudent preservation of privacy allowed their genuine care for one another to take root. By keeping intimate details to herself yet exhibiting steadfast support in public, Queen Elizabeth exemplified grace under pressure while honoring her beloved Philip. Their subtle but evident bond serves as an inspiring reminder that true love can thrive quietly yet powerfully when sheltered with care.