The Queen will be in mourning this week as it is announced that her beloved cousin, Margaret Rhodes, has died at the age of 91.

Her cousin, and lifelong friend and confidant, is said to have died peacefully at her home surrounded by family.

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Although it is not commonplace for the Queen to attend funerals, she is expected to make an exception in the case of Rhodes because of their close bond. It’s thought the funeral will be held at the chapel in the grounds of Royal Lodge in Windsor.

Margaret Rhodes was one of The Queen’s childhood playmates. They spent days up at Balmoral or in the gardens at Windsoer and Buckingham Palace playing games. Margaret revealed that one of their favourites was ‘catching happy days’. This involved chasing after leaves falling from the trees. They also shared a love of horses, involving the animals in their make-believe games before they were old enough to ride alone.

Thanks to Mrs Rhodes memoir ‘The Final Curtsey’, we also know that she famously slipped unnoticed out of the palace on VE Day in 1945 with a teenage Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret to celebrate with the crowds in the street.

Margaret was also a bridesmaid at the Queen’s wedding to Prince Philip in 1947. She then lived only a short distance from the Queen when she was in residence in Windsor Castle. Her home was ‘The Garden House’, and was a gift from the Queen 35 years ago.

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“Make no mistake, this will be a big loss,” a royal figure told the Daily Mail. “Margaret Rhodes has been part of her life for more than 80 years. The Queen was a regular visitor to Mrs Rhodes’ home.”

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