Queen's close friend who used to help her go 'incognito' dies aged 97

Queen's friend Lady Rupert Nevill shared plenty with the late monarch - dance partners, secret getaways, and even Girl Guides sashes!

HM The Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh re-visit Broadlands, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20. The royals spent their wedding night at Broadlands in Hampshire in November 1947, the former home of Prince Philip's uncle, Earl Mountbatten.
(Image credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Lady Rupert Nevill, a lifelong friend of the late Queen Elizabeth has died aged 97. Known as one of the Queen's 'naughtiest' friends, the pair had a very close relationship that spanned decades.

Princess Elizabeth learns to tie a knot with the girl guides in Frogmore, Windsor, England on April 11, 1942.

(Image credit: Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Lady Rupert Nevill, who has died aged 97, was born in 1925 as Lady Camilla Wallop - daughter of the 9th Earl of Portsmouth. To her close friends, including the Queen, she was known as 'Micky' and she was known as one of the late monarch's naughtiest pals.

The two became a close childhood friends when they joined the Guides in Buckingham Palace. According to the Girl Guides website, the Queen became a Guide back in 1937 aged 11. Alongside her sister Princess Margaret and 14 of their cousins and friends, they started the 1st Buckingham Palace Guides, with a summer house at the end of the Palace's gardens as their base. "They did everything an ordinary Guide unit would do," reads an entry on the Guides website, "including hiking, making campfires, learning first aid, and going on scavenger hunts."

Princess Elizabeth dancing with Captain Lord Rupert Nevill at The Royal Merchant Navy Ball, in aid of King George's Fund for Sailors at The Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane. May 1946.

(Image credit: mcAllan /Mirrorpix / Getty Images)

She became Lady Rupert Nevill after marrying Lord Rupert Charles Montecute Nevill in 1944. Lord Rupert was, among other things, a close pal of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and he was his treasurer from 1970 to 1982 and his private secretary from 1976 to 1982.

Before marrying her husband Prince Philip, the Queen was photographed dancing with Lord Rupert in an image that exudes youthful glee. This fun attitude seemed to permeate the relationship between the two couples throughout their decades-long friendship.

The Nevills often entertained at their home, Horsted Place in East Sussex, and had four children together - with the Queen and Prince Philip acting as godparents to two of them. 

Emma Mary And Godparents After The Christening Today -- Left of right, Capt. Christopher Soames holding his son, Nicholas; Mrs. Duncan Sandys, daughter of Winston Churchill; Lady Rupert Nevill, godmother of the baby, Emma Mary Somes? whom she is holding; M. Andre de Staree, godfather of the child; and Mrs. Christopher Soames, the child mother, at the Christening reception today in the home of Capt. G. Soames, at Sheffield Park, Fletching, Sussex. Mr. Winston Churchill and Mrs. Churchill attended the christening of a grandchild today (Sunday) in the 13th century church at Fletching, Sussex.

(Image credit: SuperStock / Alamy Stock Photo)

According to the Daily Mail, the Queen and Prince Philip would often stay at the Nevills' home, where they enjoyed incognito trips to the theatre in Brighton. It seems that the monarch was particularly fond of seeing whether out of royal context she'd be recognized. "She once queued at the ticket office ­without being noticed," reports the Daily Mail. "Another night, when slow-­moving crowds jammed the foyer, the manager recognized Micky Nevill and suddenly realized that, elbow-deep in the crush and enjoying it, was the Queen."

Lady Rupert Nevill was widowed in 1982, after her husband died aged 59. The royal confidante remained close with the Queen and Prince Philip for the rest of their lives.

Lord Rupert Nevill (1923 - 1982) and Lady Anne Nevill run the tombola at the YMCA Fair in Londonderry House, Park Lane, London, 21st November 1956.

(Image credit: John Franks/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Writer and creator of Downton Abbey Julian Fellowes told the Daily Mail that he was hugely influenced by Lady Rupert Nevill.

"I will miss her tremendously," he said. "We had been friends for more than half a century. In fact, she was one of the main influences in my life," he continued. "Her knowledge, her judgment, her taste, were all extraordinary, and I consider knowing her as one of my ­greatest blessings."

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.