Queen Elizabeth to ‘rely heavily’ on close aide following Philip’s death, says friend

Edward VIII praises Queen Elizabeth II's reign in 1969

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The Duke of Edinburgh, who the Queen once described as her “strength and stay”, died on April 9 aged 99. After Buckingham Palace issued a statement telling of Her Majesty’s “deep sorrow, Paul Whybrew is deemed someone strong the Queen can rely on.

Mr Whybrew, the Queen’s Page of the Backstairs, appeared with the monarch in a James Bond sketch opening the 2012 London Olympics.

The aide lives in accommodation provided by the Queen in Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House.

During England’s first coronavirus lockdown last March, Mr Whybrew quarantined with Philip and the Queen at Windsor.

Mr Whybrew also memorably helped remove Michael Fagan from Her Majesty’s bedroom after he broke into Buckingham Palace in 1982

Now, following the Duke’s passing, a friend of the Queen and Philip believe Mr Whybrew will serve as the monarch’s “rock”.

Speaking to The Times, a friend suggested the Page and other aides have already served as personal confidants.

On Mr Whybrew, the friend said: “People talk about the duke being the Queen’s rock, which he was.

“But so is Paul. He has been such a loyal servant, and a crucial member of ‘HMS Bubble’ [the Covid confinement] at Windsor.

“She will be relying heavily on him.”

The friend also suggested Angela Kelly, Her Majesty’s personal assistant and senior dresser, will be there for the Queen.

Ms Kelly once recalled she was offered a job with the Royal Family a year after meeting the Queen in 1992 in Germany.

She said: “I suppose the Queen must have liked me and decided I was trustworthy and discreet.”

The friend also added the Queen’s “ladies-in-waiting will be critical” following Philip’s death, led by Lady Susan Hussey and including Mary Morrison, known as Mossy, Lady Elton and Dame Annabel Whitehead.

In the wake of Philip’s death, the Palace issued a statement paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.

It said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

“Further announcements will be made in due course.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

Other royals have since spoke about Philip, with Prince Charles saying he misses his “dear papa”.

He said: “My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that.

“It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time. Thank you.”

Prince William said of his grandfather: “I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her.”

Prince Harry added in a separate statement: “He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.”

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