In our family, great-grandmothers were called Gan Gan. It’s what all the kids of my generation called our great-grandmother, May Curry, and it’s what all my cousins’ kids called my grandmother, Lurey (Curry) Albury. We never knew where the term originated — I think we all assumed it was something unique to our family.
Turns out that generations of royals have called their great-grandmothers “Gan Gan.” It’s how her grandchildren and great-grands referred to Queen Victoria. According to royal biographer Kitty Kelley, it’s what Prince Charles called his great-grandmother, Queen Mary, that way. And what his sons, William and Harry, called the Queen Mother.
Much as my husband will tell you I love the idea of being secretly descended from royalty (I am, after all, Queen Elizabeth II’s 11th cousin, 4x removed), it seems more likely that this tradition came via our British Loyalist ancestors. I’m curious to know whether other families descended from Loyalists use this term. Any Gan Gans in your family tree?