Queen Consort Camilla has appointed six official Queen’s Companions after deciding she “did not want or need” ladies-in-waiting.
The 75-year-old royal has unveiled a group of friends who will offer her “support and company” in her new life as King Charles after confirming she has scrapped the traditional position, which combined the roles of secretary, adviser and companion to the late Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret.
A source told The Sunday Times newspaper: “The Queen Consort did not want or need ladies-in-waiting and the Queen’s companions will have a different role. They are there to provide Her Majesty with support and company. At the end of a very busy day, it is nice to have a longstanding friend beside you.”
And a royal spokesperson added: “The role of the Queen’s Companion will be to support the Queen Consort in some of her key official and state duties.”
Buckingham Palace have confirmed Lady Sarah Keswick, Sarah Troughton, Jane von Westenholz, Fiona, Marchioness of Landsdowne, Lady Katharine Brooke, and Baroness Carlyn Chisholm will be Camilla’s companions.
According to insiders, the women will receive a nominal fee to cover their expenses.
Lady Sarah – who is married to former Arsenal FC director Sir Chips Keswick – is one of Camilla’s oldest friends, while the other Sarah is a cousin of the late queen and the first woman in 500 years to hold the position of Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire.
Jane and her husband, Baron Piers von Westenholz, have led the restoration of Dumfries House, a personal project of Piers’ good friend the king, while their daughter Violet famously introduced Prince Harry to his now-wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Lady Lansdowne is an interior designer known professionally as Fiona Shelburne and is also chatelaine of Bowood House in Wiltshire, while her husband Charles, Marquess of Lansdowne is another close friend of Charles.
Lady Brooke is the daughter of Lady Susan Hussey, one of the late queen’s former ladies-in-waiting, and a leading figure in horseracing.
Finally, the baroness is a life peer who previously represented the Conservatives in the House of Lords and is also a former nurse.
In addition, Camilla has hired her first dedicated equerry, a male adviser playing a similar role, with Major Ollie Plunkett of The Rifles – of which the queen consort is Colonel-in-Chief – working alongside her private secretary.
Some of the new Queen’s Companions will appear publicly with Camilla for the first time in their new roles on Tuesday (29.11.22) at a reception to highlight violence against women and girls.
The late queen’s ladies-in-waiting have been retained and will now be known as ladies of the household.
A royal spokesperson said Lady Susan Hussey, Dame Mary Morrison and Dame Annabel Whitehead will “continue to assist His Majesty the King in hosting formal occasions at Buckingham Palace.”
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