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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Martha McHardy

Queen’s closest adviser and funeral pallbearers recognised in special honours list

PA Media

The late Queen’s closest adviser has been recognised by the King alongside other royal aides, and many who played important roles during her funeral.

Angela Kelly, the daughter of a docker from Liverpool, and other devoted royal household staff were named as recipients of honours under the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) in recognition of their service to the Queen, as part of a special set of Demise awards.

The honours list also features RAF flight crew who transported the Queen’s coffin from Scotland to London, coffin bearers, senior managers from the household and government, and the late Queen’s stud groom Terry Pendry, who held the reins of the monarch’s pony Emma as the funeral cortege entered Windsor Castle.

Angela Kelly was the late Queen’s closest adviser (PA Media)

Awards under the RVO are in the King’s gift and are bestowed independently of Downing Street to people who have served the monarch or the royal family in a personal way.

Ms Kelly, the late Queen’s personal assistant, adviser and curator, worked for the monarch for more than 25 years and was made a Commander of the RVO.

The Queen valued her opinion and gradually over the years gave her free rein when helping her create a look for an event.

Despite the late monarch’s advancing years, she had 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.

The Queen with Anna Wintour to her left and royal dressmaker Angela Kelly, second right, at London Fashion Week (PA)

During lockdown, when the Queen isolated with a small group from her household dubbed “HMS Bubble”, Ms Kelly was thought to be part of the team.

She once disclosed in an interview: “We are two typical women. We discuss clothes, make-up, jewellery.”

Mr Pendry who was pictured with his head bowed standing beside the Queen’s pony as the monarch’s coffin entered Windsor Castle’s quadrangle was made a Commander of the RVO.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it departs St Giles’ Cathedral (PA Archive)

Also recognised were the Marquess of Cholmondeley, formerly Lord Great Chamberlain, Royal Household, who was made a Knight Grand Cross of the RVO, while former ladies-in-waiting to the Queen, Philippa de Pass and Jennifer Gordon Lennox, were made Dame Commanders.

The eight pallbearers who carried the Queen’s coffin were also awarded the silver Royal Victorian Medal in recognition of the important role they played at her funeral.

Lance Sergeant Alex Turner, Lance Corporal Tony Flynn, Lance Sergeant Elias Orlowski, Guardsman Fletcher Cox, Guardsman James Patterson, Lance Sergeant Ryan Griffiths, Guardsman Luke Simpson, and Guardsman David Sanderson were selected to be pallbearers from the King’s Company (then Queen’s), 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

Pallbearers from The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II (AFP via Getty Images)

The soldiers carried the coffin draped in the Royal Standard as millions of people around the world watched the ceremony last September.

The unit had a close connection with the Queen – as the serving monarch she held the position of company commander and made a personal review of the company every decade.

The work of the eight pallbearers was highlighted during the broadcast of the Queen’s funeral, with viewers describing themselves as holding their breath when the guardsmen had to carry the coffin up the steps to the West Door of St George’s Chapel.

The Queen, left, and her then-lady in waiting Lady Susan Hussey (PA Wire)

Tory former minister Eddie Hughes said: “I held my breath for every step... These lads are amazing.”

Fellow Tory MP Tom Hunt said at the time: “I can’t imagine how hard and emotionally challenging it must have been to have carried Her Late Majesty’s coffin just once.

“They’ve done it time and time again this week. With billions watching. They’ve done Her Late Majesty and the country proud.”

Carla Lockhart, Upper Bann’s DUP MP, said: “Amidst the pageantry and occasion, eight young men silently went about their duty. The weight of the world on their shoulders, the glare of the world on them, but they were flawless. They did themselves, their families and our country proud. Thank you.”

Lady Susan Hussey, the Queen’s chief lady in waiting, who was at the centre of a royal race row last November, after she asked Sistah Space founder Ngozi Fulani where she “really came from”, was not included in the honours list.

Soon after the incident, which unfolded at the Queen Consort Camilla’s reception on violence against women, Lady Hussey resigned from her royal duties.

In a subsequent statement, Buckingham Palace said the 83-year-old had apologised to Ms Fulani at a meeting “filled with warmth and understanding”.

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