Queen Elizabeth is mourning the death of another old friend following the death of Lord Samuel Vestey, who died this week at the age of 79.
Lord Vestey reportedly bonded with both the Queen and Prince Charles over a love of horses. He served the family for nearly two decades in the role of Master of the Horse from 1999 to 2018.
The tragic news comes just two months after Vestey’s wife, Lady Celia Vestey, godmother to Prince Harry, passed away.
Outside of his professional duties, Lord Vestey and his wife were considered part of the Queen’s inner circle. They regularly sat alongside her Majesty during the carriage procession at the Royal Ascot racecourse.
Lord Vestey was also friends with Prince Charles
Lord and Lady Vestey were also regularly spotted in the company of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Traditionally the Master of the Horse was one of the most important positions in the Kingdom. They were responsible for the care and maintenance of all the royal horses and hounds and their stables and kennels.
Today the role is largely ceremonial, and the Master of the Horse is rarely seen outside of state occasions, and only when horses are involved, where a Royal family member is required or wishes to ride.
Lord and Lady Vestey’s eldest son served as Page of Honour to the Queen from 1995 until 1998.
Lord Vestey was the former chairman of the Cheltenham Festival, an annual four-day horse racing event. He was educated at Eton College, attended Sandhurst, and served as a Lieutenant in the Scots Guards.
In 2019, he was appointed a permanent Lord-in-waiting to the monarch.
Despite his huge wealth and social status, Lord Vestey was known as being particularly down to earth. He was at ease in the company of both royalty and the common people.
A former colleague from Cheltenham told the Racing Post of how he “taught everybody about meritocracy. He treated everybody on their merits, not how they dressed, spoke or their background.”
Online tributes to Lord Vestey
Vestey was also a member of the St. John priory, and members of that organization led the tributes online.
One Twitter user described Vestey as “a devoted St. John man of long and distinguished service, great commitment, charm, and kindness.”
The tragic death was announced in the same week that news emerged that Queen Elizabeth has reportedly been battling loneliness ever since the death of her younger sister and confidante, Princess Margaret, in 2002.
Also in the news this week, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, had a sit down with teachers to discuss the impact that remote learning during the pandemic has had on the mental health of children and staff.