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...

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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.'

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

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life with more than 16 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories from baby names to store closures and product recall warnings. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.