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Queen's 90th Birthday: The trusted few

While very much her own woman, the Queen has relied on a series of advisers for affairs of state and also numbered members of staff among her closest confidantes. Here is a list of the 10 men and women who have influenced the Queen most during her lifetime

7th Earl of Carnarvon

Lord Carnarvon was the Queen’s racing manager and one of her oldest friends, who shared her passion for thoroughbreds.

He was the grandson of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who discovered the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922 with Howard Carter.

He grew up with the courtesy title of Lord Porchester, and was known as ‘Porchey’ to close friends and the Queen, whom he met when a young Army officer.

When the Queen left Buckingham Palace to join the 1945 VE celebrations — and dance the conga through the Ritz Hotel — Lord Porchester was part of her group.

The Queen’s racing manager, who died in 2001 aged 77, enjoyed success with his stud business which is now managed by his daughter Lady Carolyn Warren, her husband John Warren, the monarch’s current bloodstock and racing adviser, and their son Jake.

Margaret MacDonald

Margaret MacDonald was the Queen’s nursemaid and then dresser who looked after her clothes and jewellery and helped style her appearance.

A constant presence in the Queen’s life from an early age, the plain-speaking Scottish woman was really the Queen’s confidante and friend.

She was affectionately known by the nickname Bobo — said to be the first words spoken by the Queen — and served her for more than 65 years.

Bobo was devoted to the young princess who would grow up to be queen and travelled frequently with her on state visits.

It was said that Bobo, even when in her 80s, would still wake her with a cup of tea, run her bath and lay out her clothes for the day.

Sir Winston Churchill

The wartime leader was the first of the Queen’s 12 prime ministers and set an example that was hard to follow. He had first only seen her youth and inexperience when she came to the throne.

But the Queen and the head of her government gradually developed

a lasting bond, with Sir Winston

(below) recognising her dedication

to her role as sovereign.

The Queen respected and revered the statesman whose life was bound up with so much of British history and had led the nation to victory in the Second World War.

They enjoyed their weekly meetings which lasted longer than past audiences. When asked what they talked about, Churchill replied: “Oh, mostly racing.’’

7th Baron Plunket

Royal aide Patrick Plunket was the outgoing, effervescent deputy master of the Queen’s household who livened up the stuffy corridors of Buckingham Palace.

As a childhood friend he was one of the few people outside the Royal Family who could talk freely to the Queen.

He was the ‘social glue’ that brought sparkle to the Royal Family’s entertaining, organising parties for the younger royals and private events for the Queen.

Ben Pimlott describes, in his biography of the Queen, how Baron Plunket once scolded the Queen about her outfit, saying: “You can’t possibly wear shoes like that,” and she replied: “Well, I can’t see what’s wrong with them.”

It is said Baron Plunket revived the Queen’s interest in the arts, which had lapsed, and in later years she took delight in giving guests a guided tour of Buckingham Palace’s picture gallery.

Marion Crawford

The Queen’s governess, Marion Crawford — known as Crawfie — committed the unforgivable sin of writing a book about her time in the Royal household.

Her story, The Little Princesses, led to her being ostracised by the royals forever.

But during her time looking after Elizabeth and Margaret for 14 years until she married in 1947, she attempted to broaden their experiences of the real world.

She took them on trips on public transport and was instrumental in getting the Girl Guides established at Buckingham Palace to broaden the outlook of the children.

The governess became a trusted friend and confidante of the future queen, according to royal biographer Ben Pimlott, before her betrayal.

Duke of Edinburgh

More than any other person, the Duke of Edinburgh has had a profound effect on the Queen.

Philip was the athletic, outgoing, handsome blond-haired man who won the heart of the serious, determined young woman who was facing up to being queen.

He has been a constant reassuring presence by her side at official events from the State Opening of Parliament to official trips abroad for more than 60 years.

And as her husband, and father of her four children, he has led the Royal Family behind closed doors.

Married for more than 67 years, the Queen and Duke are now an institution in themselves, who not only complement each other but are the foundation rock of the monarchy.

The Queen Mother

Towards the end of her life the Queen Mother was seen as the nation’s grandmother, a venerable figure who liked following horse racing form and entertaining her friends.

But it is easy to forget that she and her husband, George VI, were the focus of the nation’s hopes during the Second World War.

She was the matriarch of the monarchy for almost 50 years and during the early years of the Queen’s reign influenced her daughter.

The Queen Mother’s desire to maintain pre-Second World War traditions and the status quo rubbed off on the Queen.

The Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, said the Queen Mother’s death in 2002 at the age of 101 had a profound effect on her daughter: “Not only of sadness but in a way that she could come into her own as the head of the family and as the most senior royal lady.”

William Heseltine

Australian William Heseltine was the man who helped revolutionise the Palace’s relationship with the Press in the late 1960s.

During his time as first assistant and then full press secretary to the Queen, events were organised to the benefit of the media, exploiting their opportunities rather than seeing Fleet Street as a hindrance.

When in 1967 the Queen’s press office organised for round-the-world yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester to be invested with a knighthood not at the Palace but Greenwich, and with the sword Elizabeth I used to dub Sir Francis Drake a knight. It proved a great success.

Far removed from the stiff courtiers of the past, Mr Heseltine, and a number of other aides, recognised that with society changing in the 1960s, showing the real monarchy behind the mystique would be a benefit.

He was instrumental in helping to organise the first comprehensive documentary about the Queen and her family, aired in 1969, with cameras following her for a year.

George VI

The Queen admired and adored her father, who liked nothing better than spending time with his wife and daughters.

He was the reluctant monarch forced to take on the role of head of state after his older brother, Edward VIII, abdicated to be with American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

George’s battle to overcome his well-documented stammer and reserved nature in order to fulfil his royal duties served as an example to his daughter.

He even schooled the then Princess Elizabeth in what was expected of her when she became Queen.

As her father’s health failed, the Queen took on more of his duties and has remained true to his legacy.

Angela Kelly

The bubbly and hard-working personal assistant, adviser and curator (jewellery, insignias and wardrobe) has kept the Queen’s style relevant and even added a touch of bling.

The Queen values the opinion of her meticulous personal assistant and has gradually over the years given Ms Kelly free rein when helping her create a look for an event.

Despite the Queen’s advancing years she has been prepared to embellish her style, under Ms Kelly’s direction, as a nod to modern times.

A pair of 3D glasses worn by the Queen during a film demonstration in Canada in 2010 were given a touch of glamour by Ms Kelly — Swarovski crystals forming the letter Q on their sides.

Ms Kelly (left) rarely gives interviews but she once

disclosed: “We are two typical women. We

discuss clothes, make-up,


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