The Queen is mourning the loss of her friend and former Master of the Horse Lord Vestey, who has died at the age of 79.
The ex-Cheltenham racecourse chairman was part of the monarch’s inner circle and his death has come just two months after that of his wife Lady Celia Vestey.
Lord Vestey, who was one of Britain’s richest men, was also a close friend of the Prince of Wales and Lady Vestey, who died in late November, was the Duke of Sussex’s godmother.
As Master of the Horse from 1999 until 2018, he was responsible for the Royal Mews and the Queen’s carriages and horses.
He went on to hold the position of a Permanent Lord in Waiting to the head of state, carrying out various official duties.
Lord Vestey was often pictured at equestrian events with the monarch, including watching the 2011 Derby with her, and in the royal carriage procession at Ascot.
He had a long and famous association with the horse racing world.
His blue silks were well known and he enjoyed success as an owner both over jumps and on the Flat.
He owned and bred 1997 Stayers’ Hurdle hero Karshi.
The Queen, 94, who has been staying with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle in lockdown, has lost a number of her friends in recent months.
Her close confidante and cousin Lady Elizabeth Shakerley died in November – followed by, a week later, Lady Moyra Campbell, who was one of her six maids of honour at her coronation and also a close companion.
Lady Vestey was also a close friend of the monarch.
In December, the Queen’s dog Vulcan died, leaving the monarch with only one pet by her side, a dorgi called Candy.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.