A new heartache for the Queen as her close friend and confidante, the Duchess of Grafton, dies months after Prince Philip – .

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A new heartache for the Queen as her close friend and confidante, the Duchess of Grafton, dies months after Prince Philip – .


THE Queen is in mourning after the death of one of her closest confidants and friends on Friday – just months after the death of Prince Philip.
Ann Fortune FitzRoy, Duchess of Grafton, has died aged 101.

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Ann Fortune FitzRoy was one of the Queen’s closest confidantsCredit: Getty
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Fortune attended all important royal family engagementsCredit: Getty

Her death is another blow to the Queen and comes less than a year since Her Majesty’s husband Prince Philip, whom she called her “strength and guide”, died at the age of 99 in April and that her grandson Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left for the United States.

Fortune served the royal household throughout the monarch’s 69-year reign and made Her Majesty the godmother of her second daughter, Lady Virginia FitzRoy, in 1954.

The Duchess was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1980 – an award personally bestowed by the Queen for service to the Sovereign.

Few have had such a long and close relationship with the Queen.

She was one of only two mistresses during the Queen’s reign – formerly a role carrying responsibility for the monarch’s clothing and jewelry.

Now primarily an honorary title, the Mistress of the Robes also has a more invisible role of being a source of friendship and guidance for the Queen.

The Duchess was known to perform her duties flawlessly and never spoke in depth about her responsibilities with the royal family.

She attended all the most important royal events, such as state visits and the official opening of Parliament, while also being in charge of the rotation of ladies-in-waiting.

She accompanied the Queen on her trip to Nigeria in 1956 and her trips to Paris in 1972 and Russia in 1994.

In 1980, during a visit to Morocco, the Duchess was ordered to leave the walls of then King Hassan, although she was invited to stay.

Born in 1920 as Anne Fortune Smith, she married the 11th Duke of Grafton Hugh FitzRoy in 1946 and they had five children before her death in April 2011.

Fortune assumed the title of Duchess of Grafton after the death of her father.

The Duchess joined the royal household in the year of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 as Lady of the Queen’s Bedroom.

She became Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the New Year’s Honors List in 1965 and was one of Her Majesty’s closest friends.

Fortune was one of four children and was a descendant of Oswald Smith, of Blendon Hall, Kent, making her a second cousin to the Queen Mother, whose grandmother was Smith’s daughter.

She grew up with her three brothers John, Jeremy and Mark in a large country house in Ashfold, Sussex.

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The Ducess of Grafton with Lady Diana SpencerCredit: Alamy
The Duchess' death comes less than a year after the death of her husband, Prince Philip
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The Duchess’ death comes less than a year after the death of her husband, Prince PhilipCredit: PA

The Duchess of Grafton attends the European Royal Jubilee Dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002

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