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The Queen has suffered another huge loss just weeks after the death of the Dowager Duchess of Grafton, her most senior lady-in-waiting and close friend.
Diana Maxwell, Lady Farnham, the Queen's Lady of Bedchamber since 1987, died four days after Christmas at the age of 90.
It also comes after Her Majesty lost her husband Prince Philip in April last year at 99.
"It is very sad for the Queen," a royal insider told The Telegraph. "Everyone loved Lady Farnham, she was always so good-humoured. She was also a very glamorous and attractive woman. She was always very generous to new people joining the household."
"It has not been a good year for the Queen — losing her husband and then the Duchess of Grafton and now Lady Farnham," they added.
"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."
Lady Farnham attended numerous events with the Queen during her service, including Her Majesty's 2012 Diamond Jubilee service, which Philip had been unable to attend as he was unwell.
Lady Farnham was recognised by the Queen for her service in 1998 when she was appointed Commander, Royal Victorian Order.
In 2010, she was appointed Dame Commander, Royal Victorian Order – an award made personally by the Queen for services to the sovereign.
Lady Farnham was married to Lord Farnham in 1959 with the pair adopting two children, Harriet, 57, and Sophie, 54. The Farnhams also had three grandchildren and one grandson.
The Queen paid tribute to her late husband during her Christmas address, saying, "Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones.
"This year, especially, I understand why."
She continued, "But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world."
Her Majesty added, "His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation – were all irrepressible.
"That mischievous, inquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.
"But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings; and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas."
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