The Queen has been left devastated after the death of one of her most loyal aides who has served at Windsor Castle for more than four decades.
Annette Wilkin, 72, who ‘gave her life to the royal family’, suddenly passed away after developing a short illness.
It is thought the monarch is likely to attend her funeral and break a royal tradition which would ordinarily forbid her, so she can honour one of her most long-serving members of staff.
The Queen rarely attends funerals and only goes to those of very close friends and family members, usually sending a representative in her place for others.
Miss Wilkin worked at Windsor Castle for 45 years and was so respected by the Queen, she gave her one of her beloved corgis, Larch, as a gift.
A royal source told the Daily Mail that ‘kind’ Miss Wilkin was always ‘immaculately dressed’ and ‘fully in control of her job’.
They added she was working until very recently but suddenly became ill and was treated in hospital, adding that ‘she always seemed very fit so her death has come as a great shock.’
The source told the website: ‘The Queen and all the royals absolutely adored her and she was almost part of the family.
‘She never married but was devoted to her job and gave her life to the royal family.’
Miss Wilkin – who they described as a ‘perfectionist’ missing no details – was in charge of all cleaning, bed linen and maids in three teams at Windsor Castle and Frogmore House.
The source added the other aides referred to her as ‘Annette the Queen’ because she too seemed regal with a ‘cut-glass accent’.
Miss Wilkin began working as a maid at the royal household when she was just a teenager and recently featured on a documentary about her life working for the Queen.
She says on the footage: ‘I think first and foremost it’s a home, and whose home – that’s the most important to all of us, the Queen.
‘It’s a bit like looking after your own home, but on this massive, massive scale. We have a very good boss, who will see everything. Nothing gets missed.’
Miss Wilkin later retired in 2014 but the Queen offered her a cottage to live in at Windsor so she could remain close.
Soon enough the Queen had her take up another job of an assistant dresser for Angela Kelly, who styles the monarch.
Buckingham Palace has not yet commented.
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