The Countess was considered one of Her Majesty’s closest confidantes in recent years. Former aides have described their relationship as like that between mother and daughter. They said there was “a great deal of love and mutual respect between them.”
The Countess had a full day of visits planned for Thursday, as part of her Royal duties.
In the morning she delighted pupils at Sunnydown School in Caterham, after she stopped by for a chat and a tour of the premises.
The mother-of-two, 57, then proceeded on to Woodhouse Centre Oxted, a busy “workshop” for retired and disabled people living in the area.
Her schedule was then supposed to see her attend a third event later in the afternoon.
However, she abruptly broke off her engagement at the Woodhouse Centre on learning of the Queen’s precarious condition from her team.
Sources told Hello! Magazine that the Countess “dashed” out of the event as she hurried to meet up with her husband Prince Edward.
The Royal couple were flown by the RAF to Aberdeen along with Prince William and Prince Andrew.
On arrival in Scotland, they were driven by William to Balmoral where they joined Prince Charles and Princess Anne in a vigil at the Queen’s bedside.
The Countess looked deep in thought as she was whisked away with her companions to the Queen’s Scottish estate.
The Queen’s death was announced at 6.30pm on Thursday evening by Buckingham Palace.
In a short but solemn statement, they said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
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Prince Charles was formally proclaimed King on Saturday at a meeting of the accession council in St James’s Palace.
The clerk of the council proclaimed: “Whereas it has pleased almighty god to call to his mercy our late sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth the Second of blessed and glorious memory, by whose decease the crown of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is solely and rightfully come to Prince Charles Philip Arthur George.
“We therefore, the lords spiritual and temporal of this realm, and members of the House of Commons together with other members of her late majesty’s privy council and representatives of the realms and territories, alderman, citizens of London and others, with one voice and consent of tongue and heart publish and proclaim that the Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, is now by our the death of our late sovereign of happy memory, become our only lawful and happy liege lord.
“Charles III, by the grace of god of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of his other realms and territory, King, head of the commonwealth, defender of the faith, to whom we do acknowledge all faith and obedience with humble affection, beseeching God by whom kings and queens do reign to bless his majesty with long and happy years to reign over us.”
The clerk concluded by saying “God Save the King”, which was repeated in unison by members present at the ceremony.