Queen’s rest orders are a ‘bitter blow’ says expert
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The Queen had Fortune, the Dowager Duchess of Grafton shadow her since she first rose through the ranks to become Mistress of the Wardrobe in 1967. Fortune, who would have turned 102 in February, died on December 3 after 75 years of loyal service as she first began to attend to the Queen as a Lady of the Bedchamber a year into her reign. The Dowager Duchess was the widow of the 11th Duke of Grafton, Hugh FitzRoy, a descendent of King Charles II and his mistress Barbara Villiers.
According to French website Histoires Royales, Fortune was “the most loyal” friend and aide to the Queen.
Born Ann Fortune Smith in 1920 into the banking Smith Family, she married Hugh FitzRoy in 1946, when he had yet to inherit the ducal title from his father and still used the subsidiary title of Earl of Euston.
The pair shared five children together, two boys and three girls.
Fortune first entered the Court of Elizabeth II as a Lady of the Bedchamber, a position she shared with Elizabeth, the Countess of Leicester.
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Three years after becoming Mistress of the Wardrobe, she took on the title of Duchess of Grafton following the death of High’s father.
The heir presumptive to the duchy, James FitzRoy, died before both Hugh and Fortune, and the title passed to the couple’s grandson Henry FitzRoy when the 11th Duke died himself in 2011.
The strong relationship she shared with Her Majesty was further cemented when the Duchess of Grafton made the Queen the godmother to her second daughter, Lady Virginia FitzRoy, in 1954.
While mostly working behind the scenes, the Queen paid tribute to Fortune’s service and made her Lady Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1980.
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The honour is traditionally reserved to either a member of the Royal Family or civilians working for the firm.
The Dowager Duchess of Grafton’s death is the latest blow the Queen has had to grapple with over the past year.
In February, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle confirmed they would not be returning to full royal duties after a one-year trial period away from the family.
And in April, Her Majesty lost her companion of over 70 years when Prince Philip died aged 99.
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The Queen was forced to keep her distance from other members of the Royal Family due to coronavirus restrictions still being in place.
Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward all attended the service alongside their children.
Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, was also present with her husband Daniel as were three of the Queen’s cousins – Princess Alexandra, Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, and Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent.
Three descendants of Prince Philip’s four sisters – Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden; Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse; and Philipp, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg – were also included in the service which was limited to only 30 relatives.
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