Inside the Queen’s inner circle of close pals and loyal staff members she trusts

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The Queen’s closest and most valued friends have helped the Monarch, 95, through a heartbreaking year as they enjoyed watching TV, chatting and sharing drinks and food during a difficult summer

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Everyone needs close friends and someone you can really rely on, and the Queen has no shortage of allies who never let her down.

They’ve been by her side this year more than ever following the death of her beloved husband Prince Philip back in April.

With the Monarch spending time in hospital and of course Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview, her confidants have simply had to step up and stay closer than ever in 2021.

It has been reported that the Queen began having friends to Windsor for lunches and dinner during the final months of summer for the first time since Philip’s passing.

They enjoyed watching TV late into the evening, sharing a few drinks, good food and catching up in high spirits, it is claimed.

The Queen’s friends have been close by in 2021
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“The Queen can go from being magisterial to chatty with those she trusts. She has good judgment once she trusts people – and once she does it is very easy,” a royal insider said.

The close-knit inner circle have never been more important to her.

“Those who are in it cherish their place – they are a support for the Queen and someone that they can have a laugh with and she can talk about the issues of the day,” the source told People.

We take a look at the women who have made life easier for her during a very demanding year.

Angela Kelly

The Queen and Angela Kelly, far right, share a love of fashion
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When you have worked for the Queen for more than 25 years, bonds build.

Angela is one of the royal’s most trusted members of staff, and over the years has become dear friend.

The dressmaker previously worked as a housekeeper for the British Ambassador to Germany.

She impressed enough to secure a job in the Royal Household.

In 2012, the Queen made her a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order and is the only person given formal permission to write a book on the monarch.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Angela previously said: “I love the Queen and everything about her. She has allowed me to become closer to her over the years. I would never overstep the mark and I remain in awe of the Queen.”

Sophie Wessex

Sophie and her family have been on standby during a very difficult year
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It isn’t simply Sophie, wife to the Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward, who is always close at hand.

The monarch is also extremely close to Sophie’s children, her youngest grandchildren – Lady Louise and Viscount James.

An insider told the Sun: “The Queen loves the fact that Louise and James relish their time at Balmoral, and she has become particularly close to Louise, who seems to have become her favourite grandchild, closely followed by James.”

It is Sophie, however, who is often described as the family’s “secret weapon”.

Lady Susan Hussey

Lady Susan Hussey is known as ‘Number One Head Girl’ in the Queen’s office
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He close companion is a lady-in-waiting to Her Majesty.

The 81-year-old – known affectionately as ‘Number One Head Girl’ in the Queen’s office – grew close to Queen following the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960.

So trusted and loved is she, Lady Susan accompanied her in the car as she arrived at the funeral of her beloved husband Prince Philip back in April.

Also said to be a good friend to Prince Charles and Camilla, she is also a godmother to Prince William.

Lady Annabel Whitehead

Dame Annabel Whitehead is the Queen’s “rock”
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Dame Annabel Whitehead has been an invaluable source of support for the monarch, it is believed.

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

On hand to help with the entertaining during the summer, she has been a rock.

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

Lady Pamela Hicks

Lady Pamela Hicks was a bridesmaid for the Queen in 1947
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Lady Pamela, at 92, is said to be the Queen’s oldest friend.

Her Highness’ second cousin and former lady-in-waiting has passionately served the monarch for decades.

The daughter of Lord Mountbatten, a cousin of Prince Philip, the pair’s friendship goes from strength to strength.

She was a bridesmaid for the Queen when she married in 1947 and has been a solid form of support throughout her reign.

Lady Pamela described the Queen as “tremendously loyal and utterly selfless” while praising her sense of duty.

She said: “To have known the Queen is to admire her above everybody else. She has always been accepting of whatever she’s supposed to be doing.”

Lady Sarah Chatto

Lady Sarah, second right, is said to be her “absolute favourite younger Royal”
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Lady Sarah Chatto is one of the more low-key members of the Royal Family, and rarely undertake any official duties

The 57-year-old daughter of the Queen’s late sister Princess Margaret making her the monarch’s niece shuns the spotlight.

But the pair are said to have a special bond and according to the Daily Mail, she is the only guest ever allowed to accompany the monarch to her favourite hideaway, Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral estate.

A royal aide told the paper: “The Queen adores Sarah and seeks out her company as often as possible. She is her absolute favourite younger Royal.

“They are hugely at ease in each other’s company. Much giggling can be heard when they are together. They share a sense of loyalty, fun, duty and the ridiculous.”

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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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