The Queen has lost a second loyal aide following the death of Lady Farnham just weeks after the passing of devoted friend and former Mistress of the Robes, the Duchess of Grafton.
Diana Maxwell, Lady Farnham, who had been the Queen’s Lady of Bedchamber since 1987 and rode with the Queen on the way to her Diamond Jubilee service in 2012, died four days after Christmas aged 90.
It follows the death of Ann Fortune FitzRoy, the Duchess of Grafton, aged 101 last month and is another blow after the passing of husband Prince Philip in April.
Lady Farnham was married to Barry Maxwell, the 12th Baron Farnham – a top City banker and Irish peer who died in 2001.
A royal source told The Telegraph: ‘It is very sad for the Queen. 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.
The Queen’s longstanding Lady-in-Waiting Diana, Lady Farnham pictured accompanying the monarch during the State opening of Parliament in the House of Lords
Queen Elizabeth’s Lady-in-Waiting Lady Farnham (pictured right) has died aged 90
Queen Elizabeth sat at the State Opening of the Houses of Parliament with husband Prince Philip and her ladies-in-waiting to the right
‘It has not been a good year for the Queen – losing her husband and then the Duchess of Grafton and now Lady Farnham.
‘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 was a close friend and supported the Queen for decades, most notably sitting alongside the monarch during Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 when Prince Philip was unable to attend.
It follows a turbulent year for the Queen in which she had to deal with the departure of grandson Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to the US and the death of her husband.
Prince Philip was her ‘strength and guide’ throughout their 73-year marriage and her 69-year reign.
Crowds of mourners laying flowers and tributes at palaces became so large in April last year that they were told to disperse because of the pandemic following his death.
The nation was subsequently left heartbroken by photographs of the grief-stricken Queen sitting alone during her husband’s funeral as she was forced to mourn away from her devastated children and grandchildren during the Covid-secure ceremony.
The Queen proudly displayed a photo of her ‘beloved’ Prince Philip and donned a sapphire brooch she wore on her honeymoon in 1947 and again for her diamond wedding anniversary during her Christmas Day speech last week.
Facing her first festive season without her husband of 73 years, Her Majesty, 95, presented a ‘particularly personal’ address to the nation – paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh and saying his ‘mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him’.
The monarch described there being ‘one familiar laugh missing’ this Christmas as she made her most fulsome public tribute to the nation’s longest-serving consort since his death in April aged 99.
The speech also came just weeks after the passing of close friend the Duchess of Grafton.
Queen Elizabeth II, followed by her Lady-in-Waiting, the Duchess of Grafton, arrive at the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament
Queen Elizabeth pictured during the funeral of husband Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99
The Duchess was appointed the prestigious Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1980, an award made personally by the Queen for services to the sovereign, and their close relationship was underlined when she made the monarch the godmother to her second daughter in 1954.
She was also only one of two Mistress of the Robes during the Queen’s reign – formerly a role wielding responsibility for the monarch’s clothes and jewellery.
She first joined the Royal Household in 1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation, as Lady of the Bedchamber for the Queen, before becoming Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the New Year’s Honours list 1965.