Close confidant and cousin to Her Majesty, Honourable Margaret Rhodes has passed away at the age of 91 after a short illness. The lifelong friend of The Queen died on Friday night at her Windsor home.
It was thought The Queen visited Margaret earlier this month. The two are only separated by ten months in age. Margaret was the youngest daughter of Sidney Elphinstone, the 16th Lord Elphinstone and his wife Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, who was a sister to the Queen Mother.
Margaret and Princess Elizabeth were so close they would take tea every Sunday after church. They were frequent playmates, riding hill ponies and picnicking together during summers at Balmoral. During World War II, she was a secretary for MI6. She also lived with the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
Margaret was one of the eight bridesmaids at the wedding of the future Queen. She was also present at her Coronation.
A source from Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen will be devastated to have lost her best friend. She grew up with Mrs Rhodes, and they had so much shared history.
“They remained close throughout The Queen’s reign, and Her Majesty continued to be a regular visitor at Mrs Rhodes’s Windsor home until very recently.
“One of the disadvantages of The Queen having such a long life is that she has had to say goodbye to so many dear friends and relatives.
“It is such a sad loss for Her Majesty, Mrs Rhodes’s family and everyone in the royal household.”
When Margaret’s husband, the writer Denys Gravenor, of thirty-one years, was diagnosed with cancer, Her Majesty offered them Garden House in Windsor Great Park. Mrs Rhodes said later that this gesture was one of The Queen’s: “Many, many kindnesses.”
Since the Queen has never given an interview, Mrs Rhodes was a familiar figure whom Her Majesty sanctioned to speak about her private life.