EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Tributes are paid to the late Queen’s most mischievous friend, Micky, who often helped Her Majesty out unrecognized
During her record-breaking 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II was the most famous woman in the world. Yet she still managed to go incognito from time to time.
The woman who helped her do it, Lady Rupert Nevill, died last week aged 97.
Born Camilla Wallop, daughter of the 9th Earl of Portsmouth, she was known as ‘Micky’ to friends including the Queen.
She had known Her Majesty since childhood and they were both part of a troupe of Girl Guides who met in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
Friends for life: Lady Rupert Nevill, known as ‘Micky’ to those close to her, (pictured right) had known the late Queen Elizabeth II since she was a child She died last week at the age of 97.
Lady Rupert was born Camilla Wallop, daughter of the 9th Earl of Portsmouth. Photographed in 2008 with Viscount Chelsea
In 1944 she married Lord Rupert Nevill and their marital home, Horsted Place, in Uckfield, East Sussex, became a bolthole for Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend during their tumultuous romance.
Lord Rupert served as treasurer to Prince Philip, as well as private secretary. The Queen and Philip often stayed at Horsted Place, when they had to travel 17 miles to the theater in Brighton.
“The Queen rejoices to see if, outside the royal context, she can pass unnoticed,” reported an article in the 1970s.
“Once, she stood in line at the ticket office without being noticed.
“Another night, when slow-moving crowds filled the lobby, the manager recognized Micky Nevill and suddenly realized that, neck and neck in crush and enjoying, she was the queen.”
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes says Lady Rupert had a profound influence on him.
“I will miss her very much,” he told me. “We had been friends for more than half a century.
“In fact, she was one of the main influences in my life. Her knowledge, her judgment, her taste were all amazing and I consider knowing her to be one of my greatest blessings.
The senior royals are likely to be at Lady Rupert’s funeral next week. Prince Philip and Charles were among the mourners at her husband’s funeral in 1982.