The Queen has cause for celebration this week. The monarch has appointed a member of her family a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. Lady Elizabeth Shakerley is the first cousin, once removed, of the Queen. The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood that was established in 1896 by Queen Victoria. It recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch, members of the monarch's family, or to any viceroy or senior representative of the monarch.
Lady Elizabeth pictured with the Queen and Prince Charles in 1995
Lady Elizabeth is the daughter of Thomas Anson, the fourth Earl of Lichfield, and Princess Anne of Denmark, the Queen's first cousin. Her brother was Patrick Lichfield, the fashion and portrait photographer. She was born in 1941 at Windsor Castle. In 1972, she married Sir Geoffrey Shakerley at Westminster Abbey, with guests including the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Anne served as one of her bridesmaids on her special day. Together, Lady Elizabeth and Sir Geoffrey had one daughter, Fiona, before they divorced in 2009.
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As well as being a member of the monarch's family, Lady Elizabeth has worked as her party planner since 1960. In a 2012 interview with Tatler she spoke about her working relationship with the Queen, insisting that Her Majesty has varied tastes. "For years it was believed that the Queen loved only yellow freesia. They appeared on every table decoration. Until I offered her an alternative and we discovered that she loved all sorts of blooms, from peonies to white roses," she shared.
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Lady Elizabeth greets the monarch at a reception she organised ahead of William and Kate's wedding
Over the years, Lady Elizabeth has proven herself indispensable to a number of high-profile clients, including Mick Jagger, and the Clintons. Notable events she has planned include Sting's wedding, Baroness Thatcher's 70th birthday party, Elizabeth II's 80th birthday party, the wedding of Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, and Marie-Chantal Miller and a reception for foreign royals the night before the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel.
"The Queen," she disclosed, "is the most meticulous host. She checks every dining-room setting, every flower, every guest bedroom and always chooses her own menu. We could all learn something from that."