"My grandmother and I were very close, and we very much did have a special relationship," Prince Harry said.
Prince Harry is grateful for the time he and his family spent with Queen Elizabeth, his "granny." In his Tuesday-released memoir Spare, the 38-year-old Duke of Sussex discusses his "special relationship" with the historic monarch who passed away in September at the age of 96. In this week's cover story for PEOPLE, Prince Harry opened up about how he will remember her. "My grandmother and I were very close, and we very much did have a special relationship," he says. "I miss her dearly, as well as her cheeky sense of humor and quick wit."
"I'm also really happy for her. She lived a full life and is now reunited with her husband," Harry continues, mentioning his late grandfather, Prince Philip, who passed in April of 2021.
"I will forever cherish every memory I had with her, especially the times she spent with my children," he adds, of the time the Queen spent with his wife, Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and their two children, 3-year-old Archie Harrison, as well as daughter Lilibet Diana, aged 19 months.
In Spare, Prince Harry focuses on the June 2021 meeting between Archie and Lilibet, named after the family's childhood nickname for the Queen. The family had flown from their residence in California to the U.K. for the monarch's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which marked her 70 years in power. Harry recalls Lilibet "cuddling the monarch's shins" and Archie "making deep, chivalrous bows." He wrote in the book, "Sweetest children, Granny said, sounding bemused. She'd expected them to be a bit more... American, I think? Meaning, in her mind, more rambunctious."
Having a close relationship with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry once left her a really amusing voice message on her phone. "Harry and the Queen shared a wonderful sense of humor when he was in a more carefree place. When the Queen first got a mobile phone she asked him to record a voicemail message," said Royal author Phil Dampier, to Marie Claire.
The voice message was, “Hey, wassup? This is Liz. Sorry, I’m away from the throne. Press one for Philip, two for Charles, and three for the corgis!” The voice note shocked everyone who heard it, but Dampier said the Queen thought it was incredibly humorous. "The Queen’s private secretary Robin Janvrin got the shock his life when he heard it, but the Queen just laughed," he wrote.
Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship with the royal family has been challenging since they quit as senior royals in January 2020, but they have made an effort to retain a positive relationship with the monarch. Up until the monarch's death at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth and her grandson Prince Harry had a close relationship over the years, per PEOPLE. The late Queen "adored Harry up to the end," according to historian and author Robert Hardman of Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II, and so did Harry. "I think she was one of the conduits between Windsor and California, and it would have been one of her dearest wishes that [the family] patch things up," Hardman shared.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Steve Parsons/WPA Pool