The Queen starts 2022 in mourning amid another sad death

The Queen
(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen has started 2022 in mourning following another death of one of her closest friends.

The Queen has started the New Year in mourning after learning that another of her lady-in-waiting has died.

While many people celebrated starting 2022 with family and friends, the Queen is experiencing a more sombre start to the New Year after discovering over the festive season that another of her ladies in waiting has died.

Ann Fortune FitzRoy, Dowager Duchess of Grafton, died on 3rd December at the age of 101. And Diana Maxwell, Lady Farnham, died on 29th December at the age of 90.

The Queen and her lady in waiting Diana Farnham, the Queen in mourning

D64WDH Queen Elizabeth II (front) and her lady in waiting, Diana Maxwell, Lady Farnham, leaves Buckingham Palace for a national service of thanksgiving at St Pauls in London, Britain, 05 June 2012. This is the final day of the Diamond Jubilee weekend celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne. Photo: Tobias Hase

Her Majesty typically has up to five ladies-in-waiting - and these are unpaid positions in which she is helped with public duties and correspondence - with the most senior of these is Lady Susan Hussey of North Bradley, 82, known affectionately to staff as “number one head girl”.

But with the news that two of her close confident have passed away, the Queen is expected to be feeling saddened as the New Year starts and royal duties recommence.

A royal source told the Telegraph about the queen’s response to losing her friends. “It has not been a good year for the Queen—losing her husband and then the Duchess of Grafton and now Lady Farnham,” the source said.

“They were dear friends who supported the Queen on official duties. Unfortunately, a sad consequence of living a long life is that you have to say goodbye to a lot of people you care about.”

The Queen's annual Christmas speech was broadcast at 3pm on Christmas Day and if you missed it you can catch a clip of it below...

A photo posted by on

Sally Bedell Smith explained what makes a lady-in-waiting in 2012’s Elizabeth the Queen. She wrote, 'They are almost exclusively drawn from the aristocracy, many of them are friends of the royal family, and all have shared interests, inbred caution, an intricate understanding of court etiquette, and sociable personalities.'

The Queen was forced to cancel her Christmas at Sandringham as a result of the rising Omicron variant and she also expressed her sadness over the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The palace uploaded a statement to Instagram and captioned it, 'The Queen has sent a message of condolence on the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Slide two shows Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh meeting Archbishop Tutu in 2004 following the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.'

A photo posted by on

It is not yet known whether the Queen will have someone join her remaining lady in waitings.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)