The Queen has been informed of the death of her dear friend and bridesmaid, Lady Elizabeth Longman. Lady Elizabeth, a member of the monarch's inner circle since childhood, sadly passed away on Thursday at the age of 92 after a short illness.
Her death will come as a bitter blow to the Queen, made all the more poignant by the fact that it comes just two weeks after the death of her cousin, Margaret Rhodes – a fellow royal bridesmaid.
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Lady Elizabeth Longman, pictured second from right, has sadly passed away
The Queen will no doubt reflect on the passing of both friends when she attends Margaret's funeral in Windsor on Monday. Of the monarch's eight bridesmaids, only Princess Alexandra and Lady Pamela Hicks are still alive today.
Lady Elizabeth was the daughter of the 10th Earl of Cavan, a good friend of the Queen's father, George V, and a goddaughter of Queen Mary. The two Elizabeths spent the majority of their childhood together, and when the then-Princess married Prince Philip in 1947, her dear friend was one of only two non-royal attendants.
Two years later, when Lady Elizabeth married publisher Mark Longman, the Queen, her mother, and sister Princess Margaret were among the guests. Lady Elizabeth and Mark had three children together: Caroline Elizabeth Longman, born December 1951; Jane Longman, born July 1955, and Emma Longman, born January 1959. Mark passed away in September 1972, leaving Lady Elizabeth a widow.
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The news comes just two weeks after the death of the Queen's cousin, Lady Margaret Rhodes
Despite her close connection to the royal family, Lady Elizabeth remained resolutely discreet about her friendship with the Queen – although in an interview with Vanity Year many years later, she spoke about attending a ball held at Buckingham Palace on 18 November 1947 to celebrate the royal couple’s engagement.
Lady Elizabeth described how Philip had handed out Art Deco silver compacts featuring a gold crown above the bride and groom’s entwined initials, and a row of small sapphires, to all of the Queen's future wedding attendants. With typical insouciance "he dealt them out like playing cards," she revealed.