Queen’s agony as three longtime close friends die in one month

The Queen mourns the loss of her third close friend who died in the space of four weeks.

Ivor Herbert, a longtime close companion of Her Majesty, has died at the age of 96. He was a racing journalist and coach of the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1957.

Queen Elizabeth II has welcomed Ivor Herbert to her royal estate at Balmoral on several occasions with the couple who are said to have had a lasting friendship.

The former Coldstream Guards officer was also a co-writer on the classic 1966 film, The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery.

News of her death comes just days after it was revealed that another of the Queen’s closest friends, Lady Diana Farnham, had died aged 90.



Journalist and horse racing expert Ivor Herbert pictured in 2006 was a close friend of the Queen

Lady Farnham was the monarch’s maid of honor, acting as his maid since 1987.

Lady Farnham has supported the Queen for decades, most publicly during the 2021 Diamond Jubilee celebrations when she replaced Prince Philip who was unable to attend because he was not feeling well.

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

“It hasn’t been a good year for the Queen – she lost her husband, then the Duchess of Grafton and now Lady Farnham.

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

Lady Farnham died on December 29, just four days after Christmas, according to Mirror Online.



The late Lady Farnham with Her Majesty pictured in 2012
The late Lady Farnham with Her Majesty pictured in 2012

Her death came just weeks after the passing of the Duchess of Grafton, another maid of honor to the Queen, with whom she was also extremely close.

Ann Fortune FitzRoy died in early December after serving the Royal Household throughout the Queen’s 69-year reign.

She was named Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1980, an honor bestowed by the Queen for services rendered to the Sovereign.

The Queen became godmother to Ann’s second daughter in 1954.

The deaths of Lady Farnham and the Duchess of Grafton came at the end of a difficult year for Queen, who many refer to as the second “annus horribilis”.

Ivor Herbert’s death was confirmed yesterday in The Times with an ad saying, “Herbert Ivor passed away peacefully at home on January 5, at the age of 96.

Beloved father of Nick, Kate and Jane and Joe’s grandfather. Private cremation. Details of a memorial service to follow.

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