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Obituary: The Queen’s cousin and best friend, Margaret Rhodes

Close confidant and cousin to Her Majesty, The 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.

Margaret Rhodes was The Queen’s first cousin and longtime friend. Born just a few months apart from Her Majesty, Mrs Rhodes probably knew the monarch better than anybody else. The Queen and Mrs Rhodes remained best of friends from childhood until her passing. No doubt Buckingham Palace will be a sombre state this morning upon hearing the news.

Margaret was the youngest daughter of Sidney Buller-Fullerton-Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone – The Queen Mother’s brother-in-law. She was a constant playmate and companion of the young Princess Elizabeth.

The friendship continued, and in 1947, she was one of eight bridesmaids at Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip.

Up until recently, Mrs Rhodes invited The Queen to her house most Sundays for a cup of tea after church. In actual fact, the 91-year-old lived in the parklands of Windsor Castle, a home Her Majesty gifted to her three decades ago.

Many people are familiar with Margaret Rhodes following her many appearances on documentaries about The Queen’s life. It is often joked that it wouldn’t be a programme about The Queen without a contribution from Margaret Rhodes!

When asked in 2013 whether she was excited for the arrival of the royal baby (Prince George), she famously said: “not terribly – everybody has babies so I won’t get terribly excited about it”.

Margaret Rhodes was also very vocal on the matter of The Queen abdicating in the future. She had reaffirmed her view that Her Majesty will never abdicate many times, most recently in a documentary about The Queen turning 90.

She said: “She has made it perfectly clear that through age there is no possible danger of her abdicating in favour of her son. I think she feels that the vows she made on her Coronation were ones that she wants to fulfil to the nth degree. And I think during those things she vowed to act as Queen for as long as she lived”.

“I think that should something such as Alzheimers or a stroke or something intervenes, which god forbid, that would obviously open up a wholly lot of different circumstances, perhaps making Prince Charles Regent or something. But those are exceptional circumstances and so far she’s shown no sign of wilting in the job and I think her total dedication is something we should all be very grateful for.”

It is rare for somebody to give such a great insight into Her Majesty’s life. Who knows, maybe what comes out of Margaret Rhodes’ mouth is exactly what The Queen herself would say, being as she never conducts any interviews.


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