Ladies-in-waiting always played a key role for Queen Elizabeth II, but now this will change. Ladies-in-waiting used to combine several roles, accompanying the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret to various receptions and foreign trips, as well as being aides and secretaries to the royals.

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But now, this position has been abolished at Buckingham Palace, putting an end to the age-old tradition. Ladies-in-waiting will now be replaced by six assistants, who will be referred to as Queen's Companions.

They are Queen Camilla's old friends: the Marchioness of Lansdowne, Jane von Westenholz, Lady Katharine Brooke, Sarah Troughton, Lady Sarah Keswick and Baroness Chisholm, a former Conservative whip and Cabinet Office spokeswoman in the House of Lords.

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A source at Buckingham Palace said they would receive a salary to cover their expenses almost equal to ladies-in-waiting.

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"Queen Consort did not want or need ladies-in-waiting, and the Queen's companions will play a different role. They are here to provide Her Majesty with support and company. At the end of a very busy day, it's nice to have a longtime friend by her side," a royal source says.

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The women are all part of the King and Queen's inner circle and are considered some of the monarchs' most loyal friends. A palace spokesman added that the former ladies-in-waiting will continue to help His Majesty King Charles III with official events at Buckingham Palace.


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