The Queen’s long-serving lady-in-waiting was seen paying her respects to Queen Elizabeth II during the lying in state inside Westminster Hall.
Prince William’s godmother Lady Susan Hussey, 81, was seen clad in black and wearing pearls – no doubt as a mark of respect for the late monarch, who was known to love them.
As the Queen’s lady-in-waiting for more than six decades, she served at key moments in the Queen’s life, such as the opening of State Parliaments, and even sat beside her in the car to Price Philip’s funeral.
And such is her closeness to the Royal Family, she was asked to be a godmother of Prince William, and also to accompany the Queen to the funeral of her late husband, Prince Philip.
Queen’s lady-in-waiting and friend Lady Susan Hussey pictured at Westminster Hall for the lying in State of The Late HM Queen Elizabeth II
The late Queen and Prince Philip seated on thrones at the State Opening Of Parliament held in the House Of Lords in November 2004. The Queen was accompanied by pages of honour (left) and her ladies-in-waiting Diana Lady Farnham And Lady Susan Hussey (far Right)
Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by her lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey departs after attending the Gold Service Scholarship awards ceremony at Claridge’s on February 16, 2016
The role of lady in waiting – which is highly prestigious but unpaid – is typically given to an aristocrat women who acts as a personal assistant to the monarch.
Lady Susan is the fifth and youngest daughter of Geoffrey Waldegrave, 12th Earl Waldegrave and Mary Hermione, Countess Waldegrave, and was married to the late BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey.
Lady Susan took charge on a day-to-day basis as the leading ‘Woman of the Bedchamber’.
Tradition holds that a Woman of the Bedchamber would be in daily attendance on the monarch, helping her with bathing and dressing — although today they are relieved of the task of entertaining her with music and dancing as was the case in Tudor times.
The Queen and her lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, being given flowers by members of the crowd during her visit to Brighton, Sussex in March 2001
The coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II is brought into Westminster Hall for her moving lying in state service today
She took up the role in 1960 to respond to letters following Prince Andrew’s birth.
She was originally to deal with the Queen’s correspondence, but she rose to become her indispensable right-hand woman and great friend.
She has spent the past 60 years accompanying the monarch at official state events, where she rubs shoulders with celebrities, royalty and politicians.
And as the Queen’s most senior lady in waiting, she had influence over the royal household.
When the Queen wanted to help Meghan come to terms with the complexities of royal life, it was Lady Susan she personally sent to see her.
According to Tom Bower’s most recent book, Revenge: Meghan, Harry And The War Between The Windsors, she was said to have visited the duchess at Nottingham Cottage, the home she shared with Harry in the grounds of Kensington Palace, to offer help and advice.
Unfortunately, Meghan is said to have declined her efforts to help, allegedly failing to appreciate just what a repository of wisdom she could be.
In response, the American–born actress was said to be ‘insistent’ that she would not allow Buckingham Palace to shape her, dictate her thoughts or activities.
Lady Susan is a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) and received the Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Medal with 30, 40, 50 and 60-year bars.
HM the Queen in the Market Square in Aylesbury with Lady In Waiting Lady Susan Hussey in 2002
Previously described as ‘cool, calm and effective’, she likes to remain enigmatically in the background at royal engagements, aside from collecting flowers and gently nudging on the receiving line.
But in 2001 she was spotted passing the Queen a pound coin so she could buy The Big Issue from a magazine seller while on an official day trip to Brighton.
She – along with the other ladies-in-waiting – also dealt with public and personal correspondence, organised the royal diary, accompanied the monarch on engagements and even sat with the Queen while she watched television.
It is likely she will now retire, and that Camilla, the new Queen consort, will chose her own ladies-in-waiting.
Lady Hussey was among many senior figures to pay their respects to the late monarch during the lying in state service, joining close family members including the King, Prince William and Prince Harry.
Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall flanked by Mistress of the Robes, Fortune FitzRoy, Duchess of Grafton (right) and Lady Susan Hussey (left), attends the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London in October 2019
While the siblings walked side-by-side for the poignant 38-minute procession from Buckingham Palace, their spouses travelled in separate cars, with Meghan accompanied by the Countess of Wessex and Kate joined by Camilla, the Queen Consort.
The Queen’s coffin entered Westminster Hall as the choir of Westminster Abbey and the choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, sang Psalm 139.
The Archbishop of Canterbury then read the opening prayer, which the King led the royals in reciting. The family stood silently for the short service that the late monarch had put together with the Church of England before she died aged 96.
After the congregation was dismissed, cries of ‘God save the King’ could be heard as the King and the Queen Consort left Westminster Hall as Big Ben rang out at 3.30pm. Royal couples left the building side by side, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex holding hands and the Princess of Wales rubbing her husband’s arm reassuringly.
Mourners are now filing past the coffin to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, with an estimated 1million people expected to queue for up to 30 hours to see her before the state funeral on Monday.
Important role: The Queen arriving at the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 accompanied by Lady Susan Hussey