All across the British Commonwealth, people are commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
The monarch has long inspired enormous admiration in her subjects and, it turns out, in her granddaughters as well.
Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice – daughters of the Queen’s son Prince Andrew – shared their feelings last month about their royal grandmother.
“It’s phenomenal, actually, when she walks into the room because everyone just stops and stares. And even I catch myself going, ‘Oh, wow,’” Eugenie said an interview May 21 with ABC News’ Claire Shipman at the royal family home in Windsor.
“Because she’s just this most incredible lady who makes everyone just stop for a second and we’re all kind in awe of her. So it’s great. It’s fantastic.
Despite her status as head of the state of the United Kingdom, to the princesses, the queen is “granny,” first and foremost.
“I think Granny is … she’s very funny,” Eugenie, 22, said.
“She says, ‘I’m too young to be a grandmother,’” Beatrice, 23, added.
Asked about rumors that the queen loves to play cards, Eugenie laughingly replied: “We play a lot of Patience, which is the most difficult game ever. And I don’t have very much patience. So when we play, it’s quite funny because she will sit there for a good hour and a half and I’ll sit opposite her and she’ll win a fairly few times.”
While Eugenie said she wouldn’t describe her grandmother as competitive, she added, “She just wins.”
She said the queen enjoys the time playing with her granddaughters because “it’s the time when we can all just kind of hang around together and it’s quite nice.”
The girls especially like talking to their grandmother about what her earlier life was like. “I think it’s always so nice when you can say, ‘Oh, Granny. What was Frank Sinatra like?’” Eugenie said.
Beatrice added: “Those are the bits that I enjoy the most, sort of learning, ‘Oh my gosh, you know, [what] was it like to drive an ambulance in the Second World War?’
“She’s an incredible driver, she’s still driving now,” Beatrice added. “She drives the big trucks, the big Land Rovers around Balmoral,” her residence in Scotland.
She’s also supportive of her granddaughters, particularly when public attention gets out of hand, as it did when the fascinators the girls wore for Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton seemed to create a media firestorm.
Beatrice later sold her fascinator for $130,000, and the proceeds went to charity.
“To talk about the hat thing, it was such a, sort of wacky sort of turn of events that happened,” Beatrice said. “You know, I think, you know, with my grandma we laughed a lot, we laughed a lot about it.”
The sisters are now renovating a thatched, miniature cottage at Windsor. It’s a life-sized dollhouse where Queen Elizabeth played with her own sister. “Granny came to give her opinion and she loved it,” Eugenie said.
As the girls move on from college, they’re following the queen’s example. They’re focusing on charities that address challenges the girls had as children: Eugenie on scoliosis, and Beatrice on dyslexia.
Asked whether they experience any extra pressure because of who their grandmother is, Eugenie said, “She just loves us the way we are. We look up to her like any granddaughter would to their grandmother, with a little bit of added something.”