The mother of the socialite who first introduced Prince Harry to his future wife Meghan Markle has been appointed as one of the six Queen’s Companions to accompany Her Majesty on key occasions.
Lady von Westenholz, who with the other Companions will perform a similar role to the late Queen Elizabeth’s Ladies in Waiting, is the mother of the Prince’s childhood friend Violet von Westenholz.
Her father, Lord von Westenholz, is a former Olympic skier and close friend of King Charles, who with his wife Jane has led the restoration of Dumfries House, a personal project of the Monarch.
Ms von Westenholz, who is public relations director for the Ralph Lauren fashion label, was working with Ms Markle at the end of June 2017, a few days before the actresses’ blind date with Prince Harry.
Ms von Westenholz later told The Telegraph: “It’s a great story and I am sure they are going to be very happy together. I am just happy they are really happy. They are great together.”
The role of Lady von Westenholz, who has been a close friend of the Queen for many years, will be to provide support in some of her key official and State duties, in addition to her Private Secretary and Deputy Private Secretary.
This role will also be carried out by the five other Companions, who were named as Sarah Troughton; the Marchioness of Lansdowne; Lady Sarah Keswick; Lady (Katharine) Brooke; and Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen.
Their role will be less extensive than that of Ladies in Waiting as they will not be required to deal with the Queen’s correspondence and are likely to be in attendance less regularly.
Mrs Troughton is the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, the first woman to hold the position since it was created in the 16th century. She is a second cousin of King Charles and for ten years was lady-in-waiting to Katharine, Duchess of Kent.
Lady Sarah is the wife of Sir Chips Keswick, a British merchant banker who was chairman of Arsenal from June 2013 until his retirement in May 2020. She was regularly seen at public events with the Duchess of Cornwall before she became Queen, including in the Royal Box at Wimbledon.
Lady Lansdowne is an interior designer who set up her studio, Fiona Shelburne, over 32 years ago and with her husband Charlie, the 9th Marquis of Lansdowne, has restored his family home Bowood House, in Wiltshire.
Lady Brooke is married to Sir Francis Brooke, the King’s representative at Ascot.
Lady Chisolm sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative peer.
The Queen has also appointed a new full-time Equerry, Major Ollie Plunket, of The Rifles. Her Majesty is Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles and Major Plunket is the first Equerry appointed directly to Her Majesty The Queen Consort.
Buckingham Palace said that Her late Majesty’s Ladies-in-Waiting, Baroness Hussey of North Bradley, Dame Mary Morrison and Dame Annabel Whitehead will continue to assist the King in hosting formal occasions at the Palace, as they have done recently. They will be known as Ladies of the Household.
Some of the Queen’s Companions will be in attendance for the first time at Her Majesty’s Violence Against Women and Girls Reception at Buckingham Palace, on Tuesday.