EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Tributes paid to late Queen's friend, Micky

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Tributes are paid to the late Queen’s most mischievous friend, Micky

During her record-breaking 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II was the most famous woman in the world. Yet she still managed to go incognito from time to time.

The woman who helped her do so, Lady Rupert Nevill, died last week aged 97.

Born Camilla Wallop, daughter of the 9th Earl of Portsmouth, she was known as ‘Micky’ by friends, including the Queen.

She had known Her Majesty since childhood and they were both in a troop of Girl Guides that met in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. 

Lifelong friends: Lady Rupert Nevill, known as ‘Micky’ to those close to her, (pictured right) knew the late Queen Elizabeth II since childhood. She died last week aged 97.

Lady Rupert was born Camilla Wallop, daughter of the 9th Earl of Portsmouth. Pictured in 2008 with Viscount Chelsea 

In 1944 she married Lord Rupert Nevill and their marital home, Horsted Place, in Uckfield, East Sussex, became a bolthole for Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend during their tempestuous romance.

Lord Rupert served as treasurer to Prince Philip, as well as private secretary. The Queen and Philip would often stay at Horsted Place, when they would be driven the 17 miles to go to the theatre in Brighton.

‘The Queen relishes seeing whether out of royal context she can go unrecognised,’ reported an article in the 1970s. 

‘She once queued at the ticket office ­without being noticed.

‘Another night, when slow-­moving crowds jammed the foyer, the manager recognised Micky Nevill and suddenly realised that, elbow-deep in the crush and enjoying it, was the Queen.’

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes says Lady Rupert had a profound influence on him.

‘I will miss her tremendously,’ he tells me. ‘We had been friends for more than half a century. 

‘In fact, she was one of the main influences in my life. Her knowledge, her judgment, her taste, were all extraordinary, and I consider knowing her as one of my ­greatest blessings.’

Senior royals are likely to be at Lady Rupert’s funeral next week. Prince Philip and Charles were among the mourners at her ­husband’s funeral in 1982.

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