Skip to main contentSkip to footer

King Charles' heartfelt family comment during 'overwhelmingly emotional' royal service revealed

The monarch offered his thanks to a loyal supporter of the late Queen Elizabeth II

King Charles III looks on during a Commonwealth and Nature reception
Diane Shipley
Senior Online Writer
17 December 2023
Share this:

King Charles made a poignant remark during a recent MBE ceremony, Lake District charity fundraiser Steve Watts told his local paper The Mail at the weekend. 

Speaking on Sunday, Steve, 70, who has raised £3 million for different causes since 1985, reflected on his conversation with the King. 

The former Grenadier Guard said that the occasion was "overwhelmingly emotional", adding: "I'm still wondering if it really happened". 

King Charles by a set of wooden benches© WPA Pool
King Charles visiting the Royal Courts of Justice earlier this month

Steve revealed that the monarch sweetly asked him about his time protecting the late Queen Elizabeth II, referring to her with the affectionate term he used for his mother, "Mama". 

The two also enjoyed a joke during their exchange, with the 70-year-old sharing: "We were able to have a laugh and he was asking me about my time as a guard, protecting his 'Mama' as he calls her."

WATCH: King Charles pays tribute to his 'Dear Mama and Papa'

A keen photographer and fell runner, Steve shared daily photographs of the Lake District during lockdown, compiling them into a book, A Year Like No Other, to raise money for fundraiser and child abuse survivor Tony Hudgell and his foundation as well as the Evelina Children's Hospital.

 He's continued to share images on X, Facebook and Instagram, and in an interview with BBC Radio Cumbria before his investiture ceremony, he said the photographs' popularity showed social media can have a positive impact. 

One of Steve's incredible photographs
View post on Instagram

He said: "I've been having reviews from people in care homes. This is my daily tonic; this is what I get up for." Steve's incredible past achievements include helping raise £1 million for the first CT scanner for children in the North West, by running from Lands End to John O'Groats, among other impressive feats. 

He started fell running back in 1979, after leaving the Grenadier Guards. Commenting on Steve's much-loved hobby, Charles went on to joke whether he would be running home to the Lakes, "which shows that sense of humour he's got," Steve remarked. 

Steve also shared the moment on social media
View post on Instagram

Royal terms of affection

Charles also called the late Queen "Mummy," often employing the term for comedic effect, including in a speech for her 92nd birthday at the Royal Albert Hall, when he paid tribute to his beloved mother, calling her: "Your Majesty, Mummy," at which she appeared rather surprised! 

Other family nicknames for Queen Elizabeth II included "Gan Gan," which Prince George called his late great-grandmother, and Lilibet, a name coined by the late Queen's parents and continued by her husband, Prince Philip. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the 2017 Braemar Highland Gathering © Samir Hussein/WireImage
Queen Elizabeth II's family had different nicknames for the monarch

In her first solo TV interview back in 2016, as part of the ITV documentary Our Queen at Ninety, the now-Princess of Wales commented: "George is only two-and-a-half and he calls her 'Gan-Gan.' She always leaves a little gift or something in their room when we go and stay and that just shows her love for her family." 

queen camilla trooping the colour© Getty
Queen Camilla wearing the regimental brooch of the Grenadier Guards for Trooping the Colour 2023

Who are the Grenadier Guards?

According to the British Army's website, The Grenadier Guards, one of oldest regiments, are "renowned for their determination, loyalty and grit".

 In 2019, the Battalion trooped the colour at Queen Elizabeth II's birthday parade and they also performed an essential role in September 2022, when they provided the Bearer Party for Her Majesty's funeral.

Listen to our Right Royal Podcast, where we're waving goodbye to The Crown... 

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Royalty

See more