Queen’s inner-circle of ladies-in-waiting – ‘number one’ and invaluable support

In recent months, the Queen has lost two of her closest ladies-in-waiting, who were also dear friends and trusted confidants to the monarch. But there are still a group of women dedicated to helping the monarch fulfil her royal duties

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Susan Rhodes joins the queen as she watches the Cenotaph in 2021

In order to fulfil her duties as the Queen, Her Majesty relies on a trusted band of women to help her do her job.

Known as her ladies-in-waiting, these women offer any assistance they can to the monarch and are often seen by her side at royal engagements.

In fact, many have even been described as some of her closest friends and most trusted confidants.

However, in the last few months, the Queen lost two of her closest ladies-in-waiting in quick succession.

In early December, the Duchess of Grafton died aged 101 after serving the Royal Household throughout the Queen’s 69-year reign.

And yesterday it was revealed that Lady Farnham, another lady-in-waiting, had passed away at the age of 90.

The Queen has a group of ladies-in-waiting that support her with her duties


POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

But who are some of her other ladies-in-waiting, helping her through this sad time? Here we take a look…

Lady Susan Hussey

Lady Susan is a long-standing lady-in-waiting after joining the Royal Household in 1960 to help answer correspondence.

According to Tatler, she quickly became affectionately known in the office as ‘Number One Head Girl’.

Lady Susan Hussey with the Queen and her racing manager John Warren


Getty Images)

As a lady-in-waiting, she accompanied the Queen in the car as she arrived at the funeral of her beloved husband Prince Philip last April.

It is believed the Queen personally asked Lady Susan, 81, to sit with her as she travelled to St George’s Chapel.

Lady Susan is also a godmother to Prince William and said to be a friend of Prince Charles too.

Susan Rhodes

Susan Rhodes with the Queen on Remembrance Sunday in 2020


Getty Images)

Susan Rhodes is a fairly new addition to the ladies-in-waiting team after being appointed in 2017.

She is married to Simon Rhodes, whose late mother Margaret was a close friend and cousin of the Queen, and was also a bridesmaid when she married Prince Philip in 1947.

In 2020, Susan joined the so-called HMS Bubble, which was formed at Windsor Castle to keep the Queen safe from the Covid pandemic.

That year she also stood next to the Queen on the balcony of the Foreign Office overlooking the annual Remembrance Sunday service in Central London.

The Honourable Mary Morrison

The Honourable Mary Morrison with the Queen and Prince Philip in 2002


Tim Graham/Getty Images)

The Honourable Mary Morrison has worked closely with the Queen since 1960 and is said to share her passion for horse racing.

She was made a Dame Commander in 2013, but chooses not to use the style and instead uses the tite The Honourable.

In 2018, she was said to have given the Queen a fright after she tumbled down the stairs at Balmoral and suffered a broken ankle.

According to the Daily Mail, Mary and the Queen were walking down a flight of stairs into the castle ballroom, where a party was being held.

A source said: “She nearly knocked Her Majesty flying.”

However, luckily she recovered and is still serving the monarch.

Dame Annabel Whitehead

Dame Annabel Whitehead at Royal Ascot



Dame Annabel Whitehead is reportedly an invaluable source of support for the monarch.

By her side throughout a very challenging few months, royal sources credit her with steering the Queen through the summer last year.

However, Dame Annabel, 71, usually keeps a low profile when accompanying the monarch on official engagements.

Lady Elizabeth Leeming

Like Susan Rhodes, Lady Elizabeth Leeming is a new addition having been appointed a lady-in-waiting in 2017.

She is actually related to the Queen as a first cousin once removed.

That’s because her father, the 17th Earl of Strathmore & Kinghorne was the Queen’s first cousin.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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