You’ll never guess what Kate Middleton calls Prince William when they’re alone together. And before you waste one of your three tries, no, it’s not the “Prince of Pegging” — that one belongs to the British public. It’s also not “babe” or “darling,” which are for chaste public consumption, unlike this particular pet name, an endearment that is both spicier and more juvenile. It’s not “World’s Sexiest Bald Man 2021,” nor is it “Wombat,” though that is apparently how the rest of his family knows him. Mercifully it’s also not “Babykins,” which is reportedly what he once called her. Ouch. Do you give up? Are you simply dying for answers? Okay, drumroll, please.
It’s “Big Willy.” Kate’s flirty nickname for William is “Big Willy.” Or it “used” to be, per the Mirror: The tabloid suggests the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have retired this moniker because “they certainly couldn’t get away with using [it] today.” I don’t see why not.
According to the Mirror and various other reports, “Big Willy” is a holdover from the couple’s uni days, though it seemed to be in play at least until 2011, when Prince Harry referenced it in a wedding speech for his older brother. The Daily Star spoke with unnamed “late-night revellers leaving the party,” who said Harry’s toast included “a high-pitched impersonation of Kate calling William one of her favourite nicknames, ‘Big Willy.’” A source for the Sun had previously noted that the Windsors “are not very good at communicating with one another” (you don’t say), so “nicknames are a way of taking the family tension out of things.” Even the queen has nicknames — “Gary” and “Cabbage” are rumored examples, per the Mirror — that speak to the family’s “childlike” quality. “They love to play games and they give each other silly presents,” the Sun’s royal expert said. “Royals have always played in private. So William and Kate are really carrying on a long held tradition. It’s done with affection usually and there are grains of truth about what one feels about another.” Played in private? Grains of truth? That makes the Queen a viable Gary and her grandson a Big Willy? Oh la la, say more.
None of them ever will, of course, so you will have to settle for my conjecture. It’s based on my own personal experience with my cat, but I think it applies here: You can add infinite pet names for someone you love, but it’s the early ones that really stick. Porkchop, for example, may be my “Big Beefy Boy” today, but he will always be my “Little Chicken” — his first alias and his most enduring one; a perennial favorite, an absolute no-brainer, it just slips out. This is why I don’t believe Kate ever stopped calling her husband Big Willy. Babe for a day, Big Willy forever. Gross :)