Queen suffers loss of yet another loved one who shared special honour with Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

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.

The Queen has faced an incredibly difficult year after losing her beloved “strength and stay” Prince Philip in April after 73 years of marriage. Following the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing, she was then dealt another blow as the Queen suffered the loss of another loved one just days later. Not long after, the Queen’s Dorgi died, whilst she lost another family friend 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. 

The Queen With Prince Philip And The Duchess Of Grafton At The House Of Lords For The State Opening Of Parliament

According to The Telegraph, 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. 

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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. 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 Queen And Her Lady-in-waiting The Duchess Of Grafton At The Princess Of Wales Hospital In Birmingham

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 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.

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.