John Warren (date of birth: n/a)
Netflix’s third season of The Crown featured the Queen’s close bond with Lord Porchester (Porchey), a childhood friend (his family home was Highclere Castle, best known as the setting for Downton Abbey) who became her racing manager for 30 years. After his death in 2001, the earl’s son-in-law John Warren took over the role and became the Queen’s trusted bloodstock and racing adviser. Over the years Warren has accompanied the Queen in the royal box or in the parade ring at Epsom, Ascot and to the Royal Windsor Horse Show. He was made a commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 2022.
Sir Jackie Stewart (date of birth: 11/6/39)
Among the more surprising members of the Queen’s inner circle, the British motor racing star was close enough to the monarch that she made a rare appearance in 2019 at his birthday lunch at the Royal Automobile Club in London’s Pall Mall. His wife Helen is godmother to Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Tindall, and Sir Jackie – the Lewis Hamilton of his day – was a regular guest at Sandringham for shoots with the royals. He was on the guest list for Prince Philip’s 2022 memorial service at Westminster Abbey.
Lady Pamela Hicks (date of birth: 19/4/29)
With gilt-edged royal ties since birth, Lady Pamela is the daughter of Louis, Lord Mountbatten, and the great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She is also second cousin of the Queen, first cousin of the late Duke of Edinburgh and a grand-niece of the last empress of Russia. One of Princess Elizabeth’s bridesmaids, Lady Pamela was with her in Kenya when George VI died in 1952 and later accompanied the Queen on multiple royal tours as a lady-in-waiting. Her fashion designer daughter India Hicks was a bridesmaid to Lady Diana Spencer at her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.
Edward Young (date of birth: 24/10/1966)
Behind the scenes, Sir Edward was pivotal to the smooth running of the Queen’s affairs. As Private Secretary to the Sovereign, he is the senior operational member of the Royal Households of the United Kingdom. A former international banker, corporate affairs specialist and political adviser, he started working for the royal family in 2004. As a deputy private secretary, he had a key planning role in the Queen’s historic visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 and asked Her Majesty to take part in the James Bond video which opened the 2012 London Olympics.
Princess Alexandra of Kent (date of birth: 25/12/36)
Sixth in line to the throne at birth (she is now 57th), Princess Alexandra is another of the Queen’s bridesmaids and cousins. Sharing family history, memories and dress sense over eight decades, the women forged their long relationship in the 1940s when Alexandra’s family home Coppins in Berkshire was the setting for the courtship of the then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Appearing in the documentary Princess Alexandra: The Queen’s Confidantroyal expert Hugo Vickers said: “The most successful members of the family are the ones who do not compete with the Queen but who are supportive of her, and she’s very much in that category.”
Paul Whybrew (date of birth: 1959)
A longtime holder of the title of the Queen’s most beloved aide, Whybrew is Page of the Backstairs but is best known as “Tall Paul”, to set him apart from his former colleague “Small Paul” Burrell (Princess Diana’s butler turned reality TV contestant .) Whybrew was the duty footman who helped apprehend Buckingham Palace intruder Michael Fagan in 1982. He had a starring role in the James Bond video for the London Olympics Games in 2012, walking with his boss and Daniel Craig, and is known to be companion to Her Majesty in her downtime, including when she watches TV. “The Queen adores Paul,” said a former palace aide. “He is the perfect calming presence.”
Sophie Wessex (date of birth: 20/01/1965)
Of all the Queen’s daughters-in-law – Diana, Camilla, Fergie – Prince Edward’s wife Sophie is closest to her. The former PR executive drove to Windsor every few days after Prince Philip’s death to spend socially-distanced time with the Queen. If she couldn’t make the trip, she phoned every day. The monarch “talks to Sophie in the way she used to talk to Princess Margaret,” a royal aide said. According to royals expert Marlene Koenig, the hardworking mother-of-two is beloved by the Queen for having “superstar qualities without the flashing light bulbs” and other sources have called her the Queen’s “secret weapon” and “rock”.
Sir Huw Thomas (date of birth: 25/02/58)
Being the monarch’s doctor is “very enjoyable and rewarding”, according to Sir Huw, who became head of the Medical Household and Physician to the Queen in 2014, nine years after first becoming a royals medico. Also a professor of gastrointestinal genetics at Imperial College London’s department of surgery and cancer, Sir Huw was knighted in 2021 as a personal gift from the Queen. He was part of the team who looked after the Duchess of Cambridge when she gave birth in a London hospital to daughter Charlotte in 2015 and son Louis in 2018, yet despite his posh patients has said the Windsors “are patients just like other patients”.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.