Queen Elizabeth II has lost another close friend. Diana Maxwell, Lady Farnham, who served as the queen's Lady of Bedchamber for over three decades, died four days after Christmas. She was 90. Lady Farnham is the second of the queen's close friends to die in recent weeks, after Ann Fortune FitzRoy, the Duchess of Grafton and the queen's Mistress of the Robes, died on Dec. 3 at 101.
Lady Farnham became the queen's Lady of the Bedchamber in 1987 and served the royal family for 44 years. The queen's Lady-in-Waiting was married to Barry Maxwell, the 12th Baron Farnham, and an Irish peer, who died in 2001. Lady Farnham's highest-profile appearance came in 2012 when she attended the queen's Diamond Jubilee service in 2012 after Prince Philip was hospitalized for an illness. In 2011, Lady Farnham joined Queen Elizabeth on her successful tour of Ireland because of her connections to the country.
"It is very sad for the queen. Everyone loved Lady Farnham, she was always so good-humored. She was also a very glamorous and attractive woman," a royal source told The Telegraph. "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. Unfortunately, a sad consequence of living a long life is that you have to say goodbye to a lot of people you care about."
Lady Farnham died "peacefully at home" on Dec. 29, according to a death notice published in the Irish Times. "Much loved wife, mother, and grandmother. Interment of ashes at Kilmore Cathedral, Co. Cavan at a later date," the notice read.
Lady Farnham and her husband adopted two daughters, Harriet, 57, and Sophia, 54. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Araminta, 28, Henry, 26, Elsa, 15, and Celia, 13. In 2010, she was appointed Dame Commander, Royal Victorian Order, one of the highest personal titles the Queen can present. Since her death, the Queen will continue to be assisted by Lady Susan Hussey, 82, and Dame Mary Morrison, 85.
Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, died in April at 99. In her annual Christmas message, the queen paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, noting that she was spending the holiday season "with one familiar laugh missing." She also sat beside a 2007 photo celebrating the couple's diamond wedding anniversary. The queen also wore the same brooch she wore during their honeymoon in 1947.