Queen’s heartbreak as close courtier Duchess of Grafton dies aged 101

Ann Fortune FitzRoy served the Royal Household throughout Her Majesty’s entire reign.

Published

The Duchess of Grafton, Ann Fortune FitzRoy, has died at the age of 101. She worked as the Queen’s Mistress of the Robes and was one of Her Majesty’s closest friends for nearly 70 years.

The Duchess had a close relationship with the Queen, and even made the monarch the godmother to her second daughter in 1954.

It’s further heartbreak for Her Royal Highness who sadly lost her husband Prince Phillip in April this year after 73 years of marriage.

Queen Elizabeth II hands posies to her Lady in Waiting, the Duchess of Grafton, on a walkabout in St Peter Port, during her visit to the island of Guernsey, Channel Islands, in 1978.
Queen Elizabeth II hands posies to her Lady in Waiting, the Duchess of Grafton, on a walkabout in St Peter Port, during her visit to the island of Guernsey, Channel Islands, in 1978.

The Duchess of Grafton was one of only two Mistress of the Robes during the Queen’s reign.

Born in 1920, she joined the Royal Household the year of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation as Lady of the Bedchamber for the Queen. In 1965 she became Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the New Year’s Honours list.

In 1946 she married the 11th Duke of Gratfton Hugh FitzRoy, having five children, three girls and two boys, before his death in April 2011.

Lady Diana Spencer, fiancee of the Prince of Wales, rides in a carriage with the Duchess of Grafton (right), down the course at Royal Ascot on Ladies' Day in 1981.
Lady Diana Spencer, fiancee of the Prince of Wales, rides in a carriage with the Duchess of Grafton (right), down the course at Royal Ascot on Ladies' Day in 1981.

As the Mistress of the Wardrobe, the Duchess would take overall charge of the rota of ladies-in-waiting.

Her work in the role was rewarded in 1980 when the Queen appointed the Duchess Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

The Duchess of Grafton passed away on Friday.