Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth attended her first royal engagement since the death of her close friend on Wednesday (30.11.16).

The 90-year-old monarch put on a reception in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace for her cousin Princess Alexandra to mark 50 years of being a working member of the royal family.

It's the first event the queen has been to since she lost her dear friend and cousin Margaret Rhodes, who died aged 91 on Friday (25.11.16).

The former lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother passed away after a short illness and Buckingham Palace said Elizabeth would not be commenting because it is a "private matter".

A source 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. She was an extraordinary woman."

Margaret was the youngest daughter of Sidney Elphinstone, the 16th Lord Elphinstone and his wife Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, whose sister was the Queen Mother.

Mrs Rhodes was one of Queen Elizabeth's bridesmaids when she tied the knot with Prince Philip in 1947 and also attended her coronation in 1953.

Speaking about the latter event, she said in 2012: "We had only just recovered from six or seven years of deprivation and blackouts and rationing - it was like the sun suddenly coming out behind a lot of very dark clouds and I think everybody felt that with a new young Queen, a whole new era was opening up. It was somehow exciting."

Mrs Rhodes' husband Denys died in 1981. She is survived by her four children; two daughters, Victoria and Annabel, and two sons Simon and Michael.


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