queen attends funeral of friend

The Queen makes rare unofficial outing to attend friend's funeral

Jeanie, Countess of Carnarvon was a close friend of Her Majesty

Ainhoa Barcelona

The Queen made a sombre outing on Thursday as she attended the funeral of her close friend Jeanie, Countess of Carnarvon. Her Majesty was spotted outside St Michael and all Angels Church in Highclere for the 11am service. Looking smart in a monochrome dress and matching hat, the Queen was welcomed by her godson, Jeanie's son George Herbert, the current Earl of Carnarvon, and his wife Fiona.

The monarch was pictured speaking to the vicar and fellow guests and clutching the order of service as she left the church. Among the congregation were the Duchess of Cornwall's ex-husband Andrew Parker Bowles and Jeanie's two other children Harry and Carolyn.

The Queen pictured outside St Michael and all Angels Church in Highclere © Kelvin Bruce

Jeanie, 83, was a close friend of the Queen. Her husband Henry, the 7th Earl of Carnarvon and former custodian of Highclere Castle, worked as the Queen's racing manager. When he passed away in 2001, Her Majesty and Prince Philip flew down from Balmoral to attend his funeral. The monarch remained good friends with Jeanie.

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A lover of music, Jeanie is best remembered as the founder and president of the Newbury Spring Festival. It was a bold move at the time, given that Newbury was still a traditional farming community. Jeanie was born in April 1935 in Wyoming, the partly English and partly American daughter of Oliver Wallop and Jean, née Moore.

The monarch was welcomed by Jeanie's family © Kelvin Bruce

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In 1956, Jeanie married the 7th Earl of Carnarvon in St James Episcopal Church in New York. They went on to have three children – George (nicknamed Geordie), Henry (nicknamed Harry) and Carolyn. Carolyn's husband John Warren works as the bloodstock adviser to the Queen. After Jeanie's husband died, she moved from Milford Lake House to a house near the stud farm at Highclere.

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