Ladies-in-waiting have played an integral role in the workings of the Royal Family since the Middle Ages, acting as close personal helpers to each Queen, both in private and in public, and often coming from aristocratic families.
But, in a bid to overhaul the monarchy – alongside her husband, King Charles III – Camilla has modernised the title and her six assistants will work on a more occasional and informal basis. The 'Queen's companions' will be less regularly in attendance than the previous role required, and the slimmed-down role will no longer involve correspondence or administration, like replying to letters or day-to-day planning.
In their new role – which will be put into practice next week when the Consort hosts a reception for campaigners against domestic violence and violence against women – Camilla's companions will not receive a salary but their expenses will be covered.
A Palace source said that the first companions include some longstanding personal friends of Camilla: the Marchioness of Lansdowne, Jane von Westenholz, Lady Katharine Brooke, Sarah Troughton, Lady Sarah Keswick and Baroness Chisholm, a former Conservative whip and Cabinet Office spokeswoman in the House of Lords.
As for the former ladies-in-waiting – who served the late Queen Elizabeth II – they'll now help King Charles III to host events at Buckingham Palace and will be known as "ladies of the household".
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