“At the time [of her accession] she was a woman in a man’s world, but she’s done it brilliantly,” the Duke of Cambridge gushed over the late sovereign, who died in September 2022, during an ABC News interview in May 2012. “I still think she’s just my grandmother because when I was younger and my parents used to slap my hand if I picked my nose or if I was running around screaming … I [learned] that when I was around her I needed to be a little bit more low-key and a little bit more polite.”
Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, was first in line for the British throne throughout her reign. The former RAF pilot also served as his father’s first heir. William — who wed Duchess Kate in April 2011 — has since tackled many important tasks on behalf of the monarchy to prepare for his eventual reign as king.
“The wonderful thing about Kate and William is that they remain focused and calm even during their most challenging times,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly in January 2020. “[The queen] couldn’t be prouder. She takes pride in being on top of everything but recognizes that it’s time to hand off some responsibility.”
At the time, the insider noted that Elizabeth had told both William and Kate — who share sons Prince George and Prince Louis and daughter Princess Charlotte — that she was impressed by their hard work at public appearances and outings.
“[Charles] can’t do it all himself,” the source explained. “He trusts his son and daughter-in-law implicitly, and marvels at what a breath of fresh air they’ve been.”
The Duchess of Cambridge had an equally tight bond with her grandmother-in-law, which started when William first brought his college sweetheart home.
“She was very welcoming [when they first met],” the military veteran recalled during a post-engagement interview in 2010 of Kate’s introduction to the queen at his cousin Peter Phillips’ wedding. “She knew it was a big day and everything was going on with Peter and Autumn [Kelly, his now ex-wife, but] she had wanted to meet Kate for a while, so it was very nice for her to come over and say hello. We had a little chat and got on very well.”
Kate noted at the time: “She was very friendly.”
Elizabeth ultimately “died peacefully” at Balmoral Castle in September 2022, according to a statement from the palace. Several hours before her death was announced, William drove to the late regent’s Scottish residence with Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Countess Sophie for one last visit.
Scroll below to revisit William’s sweetest moments with his grandmother through the years: