The Queen is said to be "deeply upset" after the passing of one of her most trusted aides. Annette Wilkin, who had worked as a housekeeper for the royal family for 45 years, died suddenly after a short illness aged 72. Annette was said to be so loved by the monarch that she was given one of her famous royal corgis.
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The Daily Mail reports that Annette was a devoted and beloved member of staff who was adored by the Queen and other members of the royal household. Dickie Arbiter, who previously worked as the Queen's press spokesperson, shared his fond memories of Annette on his Twitter account after learning of her death. "I knew Annette well – such a lovely lady and always so very helpful every time I stayed at #WindsorCastle. RIP Annette," he tweeted.
Annette – who worked for the royals in various roles since 1974, starting out as a maid before working her way up to head housekeeper at Windsor Castle – was in charge of three teams of maids at the Queen’s weekend residence. She also managed Frogmore House, the new residence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Her duties were said to include making up rooms for visiting heads of state.
It is now expected that Her Majesty will break royal protocol to honour her friend by attending her funeral in the coming weeks. It is often tradition that the Queen will only attend funerals of close personal friends and family members – with personal representatives sent to pay respects on her behalf in many other instances. Annette was last seen in the documentary, The Queen's Castle: Go Behind the Scenes at Windsor Castle, where she described the Queen as a "very good boss who would see everything".
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