Camilla, the Queen Consort, has ended a centuries-long tradition after changing the traditional title of “ladies-in-waiting” to “Queen’s companions.”
The honorary positions consist of helping the Queen Consort at public events.
In addition to the modernized title for the six women assistants, their roles have also been altered, requiring them to make less frequent appearances than that of the previous role. Their new responsibilities will not involve correspondence or administration such as assisting in daily planning and replying to letters.
The updated position of the Queen’s companions ceases a feature of court life dating back to the middle ages, with the Queen’s personal helpers often having come from aristocratic families and, over the hundreds of years, sometimes involved in court intrigue.
The symbolic change of direction will see the “companions” occasionally serve informal duties as they support the Queen Consort at official engagements. Although the assistants do not receive a salary, their expenses will be covered.
The modernized move will be put into practice next week, when Camilla hosts a reception for campaigners against domestic violence and violence against women. The Queen’s companions will join her for the first time at the Buckingham Palace event.
According to BBC News, the first companions are comprised of a few longstanding close friends- 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.”
Additionally, Camilla has appointed Major Ollie Plunket as her equerry, who essentially acts as her personal assistant.
Queen Elizabeth II’s former ladies-in-waiting will now serve King Charles, helping His Majesty host events at Buckingham Palace, and will be addressed as “ladies of the household”.