The Queen was left ‘shocked and worried’ after one of her closest confidantes tumbled down a flight of stairs at Balmoral and broke her ankle.
The Honourable Mary Morrison, 81, a lady-in-waiting who goes by the quaint title of ‘Woman of the Bedchamber’, was accompanying Her Majesty to a cocktail party last week when she lost her footing and fell, missing the Queen ‘by inches’, according to a source.
‘She nearly knocked Her Majesty flying,’ the source said.
The Honourable Mary Morrison (right) was said to have ‘nearly knocked Her Majesty flying’ when she fell down the stairs and broke her ankle at Balmoral last week
The two women were walking down a flight of stairs into the castle ballroom, where the party was being held for members of the military guarding the monarch’s Highland residence.
After the accident on Wednesday last week, the lady-in-waiting was rushed to hospital in nearby Aberdeen where she was X-rayed and diagnosed with a broken ankle.
Miss Morrison, who is one of the Queen’s longest-serving ladies-in-waiting and has been her constant companion for almost 60 years, is said to be in a lot of pain.
But she insisted on returning to the castle, where the Queen is enjoying the last few weeks of her extended summer break, and is said to be hobbling about on crutches, still at Her Majesty’s side.
Palace staff are trying to arrange for one of the Queen’s other attendants to replace her.
Miss Morrison was appointed to be one of the Queen’s right-hand women in 1960 following the birth of Prince Andrew, when the sovereign’s domestic workload increased.
She was made Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2013, the highest rank of the highest order of chivalry in the Queen’s personal gift, and has the letters GCVO after her name.
As a lady-in-waiting, Miss Morrison does everything from accompanying the Queen on public engagements to answering her correspondence – but, most importantly, she is one of Her Majesty’s closest companions and gate-keepers.
Like the monarch’s other long-standing ladies-in-waiting, Heathfield-educated Miss Morrison is a charming but formidable character and utterly discreet.
Pictured: Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, viewed from the River Dee
She also shares the Queen’s love of horse racing. Her father established the Fonthill Stud in Wiltshire, which has produced the winners of several classic races.
She is also resolutely down to earth and refuses to use the title ‘Dame’. Instead she styles herself as The Honourable Mary Morrison, a title she inherited through her father, former Conservative politician Major John Morrison, 1st Baron Margadale.
She isn’t paid for her service to the Queen but does her job out of love and an unswerving devotion to the 92-year-old monarch.
The Queen is said to be ‘shocked and worried’ but relieved Miss Morrison’s injury is not more serious.
Many of her most loyal retainers have either retired or died in recent years, meaning she values those who remain by her side. It is not the first time that Miss Morrison has been injured in the line of duty.
In 2010, she was driving through the security barriers at Windsor Castle when her car became impaled on the rising traffic bollards. The car was trapped on the metal bollards, which went through the floor of her car and up into the gearbox.
A source said: ‘The car was a complete write-off. She bruised her ribcage, but was otherwise unhurt.’
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on Miss Morrison’s latest accident.