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Princess Anne hires new royal staff - including Zara Tindall's best friend

The Princess Royal has also "inherited" two of the late Queen's ladies in waiting

Dolly Maude, Princess Anne and Zara Tindall laughing at Cheltenham
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
2 February 2024
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The Princess Royal is one of the busiest royals so it's no wonder she has welcomed some new staff members to her entourage.

And three of her new ladies in waiting are familiar faces. Princess Anne, 73, has employed two of her late mother Queen Elizabeth II's loyal companions.

Lady Elizabeth Leeming and Mrs Susan Rhodes, who were appointed to the late Queen in 2017, have been made Anne's Extra Ladies in Waiting.

Susan is married to Simon Rhodes – a godson of the late Princess Margaret and whose mother, Margaret Rhodes, was a close friend to the late Queen.

Lady Elizabeth is related to the late Queen through her maternal side of the family. Lady Elizabeth is the daughter of the late Michael Bowes-Lyon, 17th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, making him a nephew to the late Queen Mother.

The aides will be joined by Dolly Maude – best friend to Anne's daughter Zara Tindall and the midwife, who helped to deliver her son Lucas at home in 2021. 

Dolly was also Zara's maid of honour at her 2011 wedding to rugby star Mike Tindall.

Dolly Maude and Zara Tindall at Cheltenham© Getty
Midwife Dolly helped to deliver Zara's son Lucas

In addition, the Princess Anne has also taken on Lady McFarlane and Mrs John Armstrong to complete the line-up.  

The new appointments follow the retirement of Lady Carew Pole, Dame Shân Legge-Bourke, Dame Rowena Feilden and Mrs Margaret Hammond.

It's also been confirmed that the Princess Royal has hired a new private secretary to replace Charles Davies.

Colonel John Boyd, who spent more than 32 years in the army, has been given the role.

Susan Rhodes and Queen Elizabeth II on Remembrance Sunday© Getty
Susan Rhodes with the late Queen on Remembrance Sunday in 2020

According to The Telegraph, the Princess Royal's ladies in waiting take on a more practical role than providing companionship or personal care. They are based all over the UK so that they can accompany her during her busy schedule of engagements when needed.

Anne visited an observatory and opened new equestrian facilities in Cheshire on Wednesday, before travelling to Scotland on Thursday where she visited her children Peter Phillips and Zara's old school.

She officially opened the classroom hub at Gordonstoun School in Moray, which has environmentally friendly credentials including solar panels, ground source heating and hi-tech C02 monitoring.

Anne unveiled a plaque naming the classroom hub The Queen Elizabeth II Rooms, in honour of the late Queen and with approval from the King – a former Gordonstoun student.

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