Queen Elizabeth II has reportedly been left "deeply upset" after the sudden death of one of her most loyal aides Annette Wilkins.
Wilkins, who began working for the monarch in 1974, served the Queen for over 40 years and was so dearly loved by her that she was given one of the famous royal corgis. Wilkin's royal corgi was given to her by the Queen and was named Larch. Wilkins passed away at the age of 72 after battling a short illness.
Reports state that the Queen is likely to attend her funeral. It is considered to be a rare honor because the Queen does not attend funerals as a rule, according to Daily Mail.
Wilkins, who worked at the Windsor Castle, became the head housekeeper over the years and was known for her "regal" demeanor.
A royal insider on Friday said: "We all called Annette the Queen because she had a regal air about her and a lovely cut-glass accent."
"She was always immaculately dressed, fully in control of her job and kind to her staff," the insider added. "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."
Reports state that Wilkins began her career working at the Windsor Castle as a teenage maid and made her way up to be the head housekeeper of the estate. She reportedly played a crucial role in restoration after the castle was damaged badly in the 1992 fire."
"Annette was at the centre of getting the castle up and running again after it was repaired," the source told the outlet. "She was always upbeat and determined to get things back to normal. She inspired others and motivated them to work that extra bit harder to restore everything and the Queen always appreciated her hard work."
Reports state that Wilkins was responsible for all the cleaning, bed linen, and maids in three teams at the Windsor Castle and the nearby Frogmore House. Frogmore was the venue for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding reception.
"Annette would be in charge of getting rooms ready for visiting heads of state staying at the castle, unpacking their cases and carefully putting personal items like teddy bears in their place on the bed," another source said. "No detail was too much trouble for her, she was a perfectionist."
The late royal housekeeper was also recently featured in a documentary on the Windsor Castle and was filmed talking about her love for the royal residence and the Queen.
"I think first and foremost it’s a home, and whose home — that’s the most important to all of us, the Queen," Wilkins said in the documentary. "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."
Wilkins retired in 2014, however, the Queen did not want her gone so she immediately re-employed her as an assistant dresser working with her personal assistant and senior dresser Angela Kelly. The Queen even gave her a cottage to live in at Windsor so she could be near her.
"Annette was working until recently," the outlet quoted the source as saying. "Then she suddenly became ill and had to go into hospital. She always seemed very fit so her death has come as a great shock."