Queen mourning loss of close confidant the Duchess of Grafton

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·Features and Health Editor
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  • Fortune FitzRoy, Duchess of Grafton
    British mistress of the robes

Queen Elizabeth II is mourning the loss of her most senior lady-in-waiting and close confidant, The Dowager Duchess of Grafton, who passed away on Friday aged 101.

Ann Fortune FitzRoy was the second Mistress of the Robes of the Queen's reign, and the pair formed a close friendship over the years, as she was by the monarch's side for countless official events and overseas royal tours.

The Queen
The Queen is mourning the loss of The Dowager Duchess of Grafton. Photo: Twitter

Ann, who would have turned 102 in February, died on December 3 after 75 years of loyal service as she first began to attend to the Queen as a Lady of the Bedchamber a year into her reign. 

The Dowager Duchess was the widow of the 11th Duke of Grafton, Hugh FitzRoy, a descendent of King Charles II and his mistress Barbara Villiers.

Together, they had five children: James Fitzroy, Earl of Euston, who predeceased his father in 2009; Lady Henrietta Fitzroy; Lady Virginia Fitzroy; Lord Charles Fitzroy; and Lady Rose Fitzroy.


The strong relationship she shared with Her Majesty was further cemented when the Duchess of Grafton made the Queen the godmother to her second daughter, Lady Virginia, in 1954.

The Queen And Her Lady-in-waiting The Duchess Of Grafton At The Princess Of Wales Hospital
The Duchess Of Grafton first tended to the Queen as a Lady of the Bedchamber a year into her reign. Photo: Getty

In a post on Royal Central earlier this year to celebrate her 101st birthday, ‘The Footman’ recalled meeting the Dowager Duchess.

“Everything stops, of course, for the Ladies to enjoy Afternoon Tea, which is served in the Lady-in-Waiting’s sitting room, at precisely 5 o’clock," he said.

“I remember The Duchess being very well-spoken with impeccable manners, just like Her Majesty, and always presented with a subtle application of make-up in natural colours, and the very sweet scent of Floris perfume – quite elegant.”

Queen Elizabeth II hands posies to her Lady in Waiting, the Duchess of Grafton
The Duchess of Grafton served the Queen for 75 years. Photo: Getty

The Dowager Duchess of Grafton's death is the latest blow the Queen has had to face over the past year.

In February, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle confirmed they would not be returning to full royal duties after a one-year trial period away from the family.

And in April, Her Majesty lost her companion of over 70 years when Prince Philip died aged 99.

It also comes as it's been revealed that Harry felt 'erased' by the Queen after a last-minute decision to exclude a photo of himself and wife Meghan in her Christmas address before the pair had officially stepped down as senior royals. 

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