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The Queen has been left heartbroken after suffering the loss of another loved one just weeks before she marks her first Christmas since Prince Philip’s death.
- Her Majesty has lost her longtime friend and confidante, the Duchess of Grafton, who shared a significant honour with Kate Middleton.
- The loss of her close friend comes as the Queen prepares for her first Christmas since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
- This royal news (opens in new tab) comes as Prince Harry makes a mental health confession as he hints at ‘celebration’ over leaving the royal family (opens in new tab).
The Queen has faced an incredibly difficult year after losing her beloved “strength and stay” Prince Philip in April after 73 years of marriage (opens in new tab). Following the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing, she was then dealt another blow as the Queen suffered the loss of another loved one (opens in new tab) just days later. Not long after, the Queen’s Dorgi died (opens in new tab), whilst she lost another family friend (opens in new tab) in October during her period of “rest” after receiving medical advice amid a busy schedule of engagements.
Now the Queen has been left to grieve the death of yet another close friend and long-time confidante and they shared a special honour with her granddaughter-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge. The Queen’s Mistress of Robes, Ann Fortune FitzRoy, the Dowager Duchess of Grafton died aged 101 on Friday, 3rd December.
According to The Telegraph (opens in new tab), few people have had as close connections with the Queen’s court in recent years and the Dowager Duchess was the most senior of her ladies-in-waiting. During Her Majesty’s reign, the Duchess attended most of the most significant royal occasions, including Prince Charles’ investiture as Prince of Wales.
She also accompanied the Queen on many international state visits and never formally retired as Mistress of the Robes in her later years. But amongst her various honors and titles, there’s one that stands out for it’s connection to Kate Middleton.
Both women were appointed to the prestigious Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen herself. Whilst the Duchess had held this rare title since 1980, where she received it in the Queen’s birthday honours, Kate was bestowed with hers much more recently.
The Duchess of Cambridge became a fellow Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2019, eight years after she became an official member of The Firm (opens in new tab). During her momentous 69 year reign the Queen has reportedly appointed only eight Dames Grand Cross, making this title even more important for both Ann Fortune Fitzroy and Kate Middleton.
It is a wonderful indication of just how much both women mean to the Queen and suggests just how she will be missing her close friend after all her support and loyalty over many decades.
The death of the Duchess of Grafton comes just weeks before the monarch is set to mark her first Christmas since Prince Philip’s death, making this an especially difficult time for her. Whilst reports have suggested Prince Harry and Meghan Markle won’t be joining the wider family in the UK this year, the Queen is expected to be joined by her other grandchildren, children and many of her twelve great-grandchildren (opens in new tab) for this poignant event.
As she looks ahead to 2022, the Queen will no doubt reflect upon those she's lost this year and the wonderful memories of them she holds dear.