Politics

Queen’s agony as three long-standing close friends die within a month

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

Ivor Herbert, a long-standing close companion of Her Majesty, has passed away at 96-year-old. He was a racing journalist and trainer of the 1957 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.

Queen Elizabeth II hosted Ivor Herbert at her Royal estate in Balmoral many times with the pair said to have had an enduring friendship.

The ex-Coldstream Guards officer also was a co-writer of the classic 1966 movie, The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery.

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



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

Lady Farnham was the monarch’s lady-in-waiting, acting as her Lady of the Bedchamber since 1987.

Lady Farnham supported the Queen for decades, most publicly during the 2021 Diamond Jubilee celebrations when she stepped in for Prince Philip who was unable to attend as he was unwell.

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

“It has not been a good year for the Queen – losing her husband and then the Duchess of Grafton and now Lady Farnham.

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

Lady Farnham passed away 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 of the Queen’s ladies in waiting, with whom she was also extremely close.

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

She was appointed the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1980, an honour given by the Queen for services to the sovereign.

The Queen was made the godmother to Ann’s second daughter in 1954.

Lady Farnham and the Duchess of Grafton’s deaths came at the end of a difficult year for Queen, which many are referring to as second ‘annus horribilis ‘.

Ivor Herbert’s death was confirmed yesterday in The Times with an announcement reading: “Herbert Ivor died peacefully at home on the 5th of January, aged 96.

“Beloved father of Nick, Kate and Jane and grandfather to Joe. Private cremation. The details of a memorial service to follow.”

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