Queen’s heartache as lady-in-waiting dies weeks after second close friend’s death

The Queen’s close friend and trusted confidant Lady Farnham has died at the age of 90.

Lady Farnham, who was born Diana Marion Gunnis, and known as Marion, was the Queen’s lady-in-waiting and acted as her Lady of the Bedchamber since 1987.

A friend and supporter of the Queen for decades, Lady Farnham notably stepped in for Prince Philip for her 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations when the Duke was unwell.

She also accompanied the couple on royal tours during her 44 years of service for the Queen.

Lady Farnham, who was married to Barry Maxwell, the 12th Baron Farnham, passed away at home four days after Christmas on 29 December.

It comes after her Majesty lost another close friend, Ann Fortune FitzRoy, the Duchess of Grafton, just a month ago at the age of 101.

A source told The Telegraph: “It is very sad for the Queen. Everyone loved Lady Farnham, she was always so good humoured. She was also a very glamorous and attractive woman.

“It has not been a good year for the Queen – losing her husband and then the Duchess of Grafton and now Lady Farnham.

“They were dear friends who supported the Queen on official duties.”

Alongside Lady Farnham and the Duchess of Grafton, the Queen is still mourning her husband Prince Phillip, who died last April at the age of 99.

Queen Elizabeth’s 2021 speech saw her pay tribute to her “beloved” Prince Philip, remembering his “mischievous, enquiring twinkle” and commending his “sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation”.

She also recalled how the Duke of Edinburgh “was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment”.

In her Christmas message, she also mentioned her son and grandson, and also commended their wives, Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

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