Camilla has decided to appoint Queen’s Companions instead of Ladies in Waiting, as she settles into her new role, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
Six of her closest friends have been chosen for the role, which will replace the centuries-old tradition, and have lighter associated duties. The women will form The Queen’s team, in addition to her private secretary and deputy private secretary, and a new equerry.
The ladies in question are:
• Sarah Troughton, Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire and a cousin of King Charles’
• Jane von Westenholz, whose daughter introduced Prince Harry to his future wife Meghan
• Fiona, the Marchioness of Lansdowne, an interior designer
• Lady Katharine Brooke
• Baroness Carlyn Chisholm, a non-affiliated peer
• Lady Sarah Keswick
The role will hold some responsibilities of a Lady in Waiting, however, they will not be expected to reply to correspondence from the public, or perform any admin. Their main function will be accompanying The Queen on engagements, thought to be a few key events a year, but far less regularly than we saw for Elizabeth II who had a daily Lady attending, on rotation every two weeks.
Each companion will not receive a salary, but expenses will be covered for them to go about the job; it is an honorary position.
Embed from Getty Images
Camilla with Sarah Troughton in December 2021
The role of a Lady in Waiting has its origins in the 1400s, before which the majority of the office holders of the Queen’s household were still men. Women were chosen from aristocratic households, usually whose male relatives had some position at court, to support the Queen to go about her duties, including care for her clothes (Mistress of the Robes, the most senior lady), administering finances and purchasing for her household, correspondence, assisting with bathing and personal care, and as companions, keeping the Queen Consort up to date with the ongoings of the court. Some, however, would be female relatives if the Queen had not been a foreign bride.
Camilla has also appointed her equerry: Major Ollie Plunket, of The Rifles, who will look after her diary and accompany her to engagements. The Queen is Colonel in Chief of the Rifles, a role she took over from Prince Philip in 2020.
The former Ladies in Waiting who served the late Queen (Lady Susan Hussey, Mary Morrison and Dame Annabel Whitehead) will now help The King to host events at Buckingham Palace and will be known as ‘ladies of the household’.