Fresh heartbreak for Queen as one of her closest friends dies aged 101


One of the Queen’s closest and loyal friends has died at the age of 101.

Ann Fortune FitzRoy, the Duchess of Grafton died on Friday after serving the Royal Household throughout the Queen’s 69-year reign.

She was appointed the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1980, an honour given by the Queen for services to the sovereign.

The Queen mother with the Duchess of Grafton in 1987The Queen mother with the Duchess of Grafton in 1987

The Queen was made the godmother to Ann’s second daughter in 1954.

The latest heartbreak for the monarch comes after the death of Prince Philip in April.

The Duchess was only one of two Mistresses of the Robes during the Queen’s reign – a role that used to give responsibility for the sovereign’s clothes and jewellery.

Ann first joined the Royal Household in 1953 – the same year of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

She was the Lady of the Bedchamber for the Queen, before becoming Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the New Year’s Honours list 1965.

The Duchess was born in 1920 and in 1946 she married 11th Duke of Grafton Hugh FitzRoy.

She took on the title Duchess of Grafton three years after becoming Mistress of the Wardrobe.

The Duchess of Grafton stands behind the Queen as she meets members of the crowd after a church service in BristolShe had five children, two boys and three girls. Her husband died in April 2011.

The Duchess was on duty for all the most important royal occasions, including state visits.

Her role as Mistress of the Wardrobe included being in charge of the rota for the ladies-in-waiting.

Her role was personally recognised in1980 by Her Majesty when she appointed the Duchess Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

She remained one of the Queen’s longest and closest friends until her death on Friday.

It follows a turbulent year for the Queen after her grandson Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back as senior royals to live in the US and the death of her husband.

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