Queen’s close friend pays tribute as UK’s longest-reigning monarch dies aged 96

Lady Pamela Hicks has paid tribute to her late friend, Queen Elizabeth who died aged 96.

Pamela, 93, who is the cousin of the late Prince Philip, served as a bridesmaid during the wedding of the then Princess Elizabeth and Philip.

She later became a lady-in-waiting to her close friend and was alongside Her Majesty when she discovered she had become Queen on February 6, 1952, following the death of her father, King George.

READ MORE: Sarah Ferguson pays tribute to 'most incredible mother-in-law' as Queen dies

Taking to Instagram, Lady Pamela's daughter, India Hicks shared a photograph of her mother and the late Monarch.

Alongside the snap, she shared an incredibly moving statement from Lady Pamela reading: "'To have known her is to have admired her above all else,' my mother told me."

India's post came just hours after Buckingham Palace announced the devastating news of Her Majesty's passing, six hours after they shared that the Queen was under close medical supervision at Balmoral.

Sharing the news of her passing, Buckingham Palace said: "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon."

They added that the King and Queen Consort would remain at the Scottish castle overnight before returning to London for a period of official mourning.

Following the devastating announcement, King Charles issued his first statement as Sovereign, praising his "beloved Mother".

The new King said: "The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother.

"I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

"During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held."

The King will make a televised address to the country as well as the countries where he is King upon his arrival at Buckingham Palace.

Prime Minister Liz Truss and Clarence House confirmed Charles will be styled as His Majesty, King Charles III and will undertake a tour of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Charles will be officially declared King following a traditional announcement at St James' Palace before plans for his coronation are put into place.

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