The records that honor Elizabeth II so much, those that recognize her as the British monarch who has reigned the longest – at her 95 years she surpasses the 81 of Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother -, the oldest in the world or the one who has been the longest on the throne – in February it will be 70 years, but he will still be two and a half short of reaching the record of Louis XIV of France – they are also turning against him. All of them are related to the years, to longevity, but approaching the century of life is also taking its toll on the English sovereign. Because he is seeing how, around him, he is losing loved ones who, little by little, are dying. Something that is contributing to increase the feeling of loneliness and isolation that haunts the sovereign during the last months, in that 2021 almost horribilis, when it is surrounded by age, disease and the shadow of the coronavirus, from which everyone tries to defend it.
The queen ended the year with three huge losses in her life. The most famous is that of her husband, Felipe de Edimburgo, who died on April 9 after almost seven decades as a consort and almost 80 years at his side as a husband, counselor and faithful servant. The Duke had just 62 days left to reach 100 years of age and after his death it was learned that it was indeed age, and not any specific condition, that ended his life.
To overcome the loss, the sovereign has consoled herself in her four children, her eight grandchildren and her 12 great-grandchildren, three of them newborn (although one, Lilibet, daughter of Henry of England and Meghan Markle, has not yet met her), but especially in her friends, the people who have accompanied her during her life and have guided her in her reign. However, these are also beginning to disappear. Now it has been known that on December 29 the one who has been his companion since 1987 and friend for decades, Diana Maxwell, passed away at the age of 90.
Maxwell, Lady Farham, accompanied Elizabeth II at key moments, such as the Platinum Jubilee that in 2012 celebrated 60 years of the queen on the British throne. The former monarch press secretary and now television commentator and author, Dickie Arbiter, stated in his Twitter profile that “everyone loved Diana, she had a great sense of humor and was very glamorous.” Another source close to the royal family stated in the newspaper The Telegraph that the Queen and Lady Farham were “very good friends.” “Unfortunately, one of the sad consequences of living a long life is that you have to say goodbye to many people you care about,” said the source to the newspaper. Lady Farham, affectionately called Marion, was recognized by the Queen, who bestowed upon her titles and honors.
I am very saddened to hear of the passing of friend and former colleague Lady Diana Farnham. Everyone loved Diana, she was good humoured and very glamorous. It’ll be sad for The Queen too having now lost two friends in the space of a month – the Duchess of Grafton and now Diana pic.twitter.com/NAYYII6uKe
— Dickie Arbiter LVO 🇬🇧 (@RoyalDickie) January 2, 2022
From 1959 Diana Maxwell – who obtained her title by marrying the first Earl of Farham that same year – was united to the royal family, as a valet, but it was in the mid-eighties when her role at court and in life of the sovereign grew. He accompanied her at important moments in her reign, such as her visit to Ireland (the first since the country’s independence) in 2012.
But Diana’s was not the only loss for the queen: Ann Fortune, the Duchess of Grafton and her lady since 1967, passed away on December 3. “It will be very sad for the queen to have lost two great friends in the within a month, the Dowager Duchess of Grafton and Diana, ”stated Arbiter on his Twitter profile. Fortune was 101 years old and had a striking title: she had been appointed by the sovereign Mistress of the Robes, something like “lady of the dresses” or “of the clothes”, a title that, according to The Times, has existed since the reign of Elizabeth I, at the end of the 16th century, and which originally involved dealing with clothes and jewelry but had evolved to become the head of the ladies of the sovereign, manage their times and organize them in events referring to the queen.
Fortune was part of an aristocratic dynasty and was a distant family from the Queen Mother. First as Countess of Euston after her wedding in 1946 – she had five children, the queen was godmother to the third of them – she had been linked to Elizabeth II as valet since March 1953, and therefore attended her coronation, held in June of that year. Her special involvement with Her Majesty led her to name her “lady of the robes” in 1967, although due to noble status it would not correspond to her. When her stepfather died in 1970 and received the title of Duchess of Grafton, her title already lived up to her position, which she never left, until her death, according to Tatler. That made her accompany the sovereign on trips around the world, from Nigeria to Russia, and was decorated with different titles, including that of Lady.
With these losses, Elizabeth II increases her isolation and feeling of loneliness, something that has contributed to the fact that these months she has had several ailments that have even forced her to go through the hospital. For this reason, the family and the court have decided that she no longer attend any official ceremony alone; Despite this, and according to the statistics of the royal house, the sovereign has attended no less than 184 acts in 2021. A not inconsiderable figure, and that represents almost one event every two days. Although the one who wins by a landslide in the British royal family is his second daughter, Princess Anne, who with 387 official acts in 2021 even surpasses the heir, Carlos, who performed 385.