Lady Sarah Chatto arrives for Duke's memorial service

The Queen and Prince Philip’s much-adored niece Lady Sarah Chatto – Princess Margaret’s daughter- arrives for the memorial service in a navy ensemble

  • The Queen’s only niece Sarah Chatto was joined by her husband Daniel Chatto for the memorial today
  • She was joined by her brother David Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey alongside other royals  
  • The Queen has been described as a ‘surrogate mother’ to the siblings and is particularly close to Lady Sarah

Princess Margaret’s beloved daughter Sarah Chatto looked emotional she arrived for Prince Philip’s memorial service this morning.

The Queen’s only niece, who has remained close to Her Majesty and Prince Philip for many years, joined other members of the royal family today to celebrate the life of the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away last April at the age of 99. 

Looking sombre, Lady Sarah, 56, wore a navy blue dress, cardigan and string of pearls as she arrived at Westminster Abbey.

Lady Sarah, 56, wore a navy blue dress, cardigan and string of pearls as she arrived at Westminster Abbey

The Queen and Prince Philip’s beloved niece looked happy to be joining family to remember the Duke of Edinburgh

Her brother David Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon, joined the procession of senior royals taking their seats at Westminster Abbey this morning.

Lady Sarah, 56, and David, 59, – also known by his professional name of David Linley – are the children of Princess Margaret and her first husband, Lord Snowdon. 

David and Lady Sarah enjoyed a close relationship with the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and their children growing up – often joining the family on holiday – and remain so to this day. 

The decision to invite David, Lady Sarah and her husband Daniel to Prince Philip’s intimate funeral last year was an indication of how highly they are regarded within the royal family, and is a tribute to the close relationship the Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed with his sister-in-law Princess Margaret.  

Around 1,800 guests are due at today’s service, including British and European royalty, representatives of the many charities of which the duke was patron or president, Boris and Carrie Johnson, and Sir David Attenborough.

But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not returning from the US for the service

The Queen has recently been forced to pull out of a string of engagements because of ill health and old age. 

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrive at Westminster Abbey

The Cambridges arrived at the church hand in hand with their children Charlotte and George. Louis stayed at home

Charles shook hands with the clergy as they entered the church just before Midday

The Tindalls were the first senior British royals to arrive, holding one of their daughter Mia’s hands

Peter Phillips attended the service with his children Savannah and Isla

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Princess Beatrice file into the main church 

She was unable to attend the Commonwealth Day service this month because of concerns about her mobility and comfort.

Palace and Abbey aides are thought to have taken steps to ensure that the service, to be televised live on BBC One, is less taxing for the Queen.  

The service will gave thanks for the duke’s dedication to family, nation and Commonwealth and recognise the importance of his legacy in creating opportunities for young people, promoting conservation, and supporting the Armed Forces.

One of the elements planned for the funeral which has now been included in the service will see nine Gold Award holders from The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, plus representatives from UK Cadet Force Associations, line entry routes into Westminster Abbey.

Philip, who died in April last year aged 99, launched the DofE Award in 1956 and was Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force, a role he first took up in 1953.

 

A graphic shows the plan for the service to remember Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey taking place this morning 

 

A tenth DofE gold award holder, Doyin Sonibare, 28, from London, will give a tribute to His Royal Highness’s legacy, recognising the impact of the Award on young people across the globe.

The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, will conduct the service and describe the duke in the Bidding as ‘a man of rare ability and distinction’ who ‘ever directed our attention away from himself.’

He will say: ‘He put privilege to work and understood his rank as a spur to service. Working at pace, with so many claims on his attention, he encouraged us to focus, as he was focussed, on the things that matter.

‘His was a discipline and character that seized opportunity and overcame obstruction and difficulty. We recall, with affection and respect, the sustained offering of a long life lived fully.’ 

It was the duke’s expressed wish that clergy from Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral – known as The Queen’s domestic chaplains – played a part in his funeral service, but this was not possible due to the Covid restrictions.

Today the Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie Minister of Crathie Church, the regular place of worship of the British royal family when they are in residence at nearby Balmoral Castle, the Reverend Canon Jonathan Riviere, the Rector of Sandringham, and the Reverend Canon Martin Poll, Chaplain to the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor Great Park, will offer prayers recognising Philip’s energy, spirit of adventure and ‘good stewardship of the environment’.

The service will also be attended by around 30 foreign royals, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, and Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.

Who are the Queen’s niece and nephew Lady Sarah Chatto and David Armstrong-Jones? 

Countess of Snowdon, 56, and David, 59, – also known by his professional name of David Linley – (both pictured in January 2019)

Lady Sarah Chatto was born in 1964 — the last royal baby born at a palace rather than a hospital — within weeks of cousins Prince Edward, Lady Helen Windsor and James Ogilvy.

The Queen has been described as a ‘surrogate mother’ to the siblings and is particularly close to Lady Sarah, who is understood to remind Her Majesty of her late sister. 

One royal insider previously revealed: ‘The Queen adores Sarah and seeks out her company as often as possible. She is her absolute favourite younger Royal.

‘They are hugely at ease in each other’s company. Much giggling can be heard when they are together. They share a sense of loyalty, fun, duty and the ridiculous.’

One acquaintance said: ‘Sarah is very unassuming; shy and almost embarrassed with no grandeur at all. Take royal events — she’ll be on the balcony, but she never pushes herself to the middle or the front, like some.’

At the time, her parents, Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon, were the toast of swinging London, their Kensington Palace apartment — now the London home of William and Catherine — the scene of hedonistic parties. 

But the marriage, a rebound affair after Margaret was forbidden to marry divorced equerry Peter Townsend, was notoriously tempestuous. 

The Queen’s only niece attended St George’s Chapel to mourn the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh last year (pictured in 2017) 

The decision to invite Lady Sarah and her husband Daniel (pictured at wedding) to Prince Philip’s funeral was an indication of how highly they are regarded in the royal family, and is a tribute to the close relationship the Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed with Princess Margaret

Fuelled by alcohol and affairs on both sides, their 18-year union was once described as a 16-year break-up.

At just 13, her parents’ divorce was ‘terribly upsetting’ for Sarah. 

As Margaret was granted custody, the children stayed in Kensington Palace. Sarah was sent to Francis Holland School in Chelsea, a smart all-girls’ day school, followed by Bedales with her brother. 

The mixed boarding school in rural Hampshire — alma mater of actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Minnie Driver — was a fashionable, arty, bohemian choice.

It had no uniform and nurtured artistic expression above all else. It was what both parents wanted — and it ensured David and Sarah inherited a love of art.

This ‘progressive’ institution was the polar opposite to the starchiness of a royal upbringing.

One contemporary said that when Lady Sarah turned up ‘she was practically in a velvet-collar coat and tweeds although everyone else was hanging out in their kickers’.

However it was quite possibly this school — with its warm, nurturing atmosphere — that made her the woman she is now.

Sarah had grown up knowing that her mother had little time or patience for babies and small children; despite Snowdon’s reluctance, nannies and housemaids were in charge and the children were instructed never to wake their mother before 11am — a rule that was keenly enforced by Nanny Sumner. 

The Queen has been described as a ‘surrogate mother’ to the siblings and is particularly close to Lady Sarah, who is understood to remind Her Majesty of her late sister

David and Lady Sarah enjoyed a close relationship with the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and their children growing up – often joining the family on holiday – and remain so to this day

When Margaret gave her house on Mustique island in the Caribbean — Les Jolies Eaux — to David alone on his 27th birthday (he let it out and then sold it, preferring to buy an estate in Provence) it was said that Sarah was not consulted; nor did she profit from the sale.

Her father, however, doted on her and it is from him she is said to have inherited her ‘immense charm’.

From her father she also inherited her artistic eye. A foundation course at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, followed by a printed textiles course at Middlesex Polytechnic, paved the way for her training at the Royal Academy Schools.

Her oil paintings today sell for thousands and she is Vice President of the Royal Drawing School. From her mother, she inherited a love of dance. While Margaret was Patron of the Royal Ballet School, Sarah is its Vice President.

Not that the young Sarah ever felt herself to be above her art school contemporaries.

She may have shared her 21st birthday with Prince Edward, Lady Helen Windsor and James Ogilvy at Windsor Castle, but she also included all of her friends from art school.

The Earl – David Armstrong-Jones (pictured) is known for his high-end furniture company (pictured) 

It was when she met Daniel Chatto whilst working as a wardrobe assistant on ‘Heat and Dust’, in which dashing actor Chatto had a small role, that her love life became serious.

The son of actor Tom Chatto, and theatrical agent Ros Chatto (who was the mistress of another theatrical agent, Robin Fox), Daniel appeared in around a dozen films and TV programmes, often period dramas based on the novels of W. Somerset Maugham or Charles Dickens.

He soon gave up his acting career, however, to focus on painting, a passion shared with Sarah.

Together he and Sarah set up home in Kensington whilst still unmarried — a fact that enraged Princess Margaret — where they still live in a small, pretty, Grade II listed terrace house. 

Pictured left to right, David Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Serena Armstrong-Jones, Countess of Snowdon, and Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, attend the Alexander Dundas’s 18th birthday party hosted by Lord and Lady Dundas on December 16, 2017 in Londo

They also have a Georgian country farmhouse near Midhurst in Sussex, given to Sarah by her godfather, the late art-loving philanthropist Simon Sainsbury.

The informal country life of dogs, horses and annual sheepdog trials — which she judges — is the essence of Sarah, a royal who has never been lured by pomp and ceremony. 

Indeed her wedding to Chatto in July 1994 was such a short, simple affair that chauffeurs were caught by surprise: the Queen, Prince Philip and Diana had to wait at the City church of St Stephen’s Walbrook after the service for their cars to come back. 

Her veil was anchored by the Snowdon Floral Tiara, created from brooches given to Princess Margaret by her husband, and the wedding portraits show the newlyweds flanked by the Queen and the Queen Mother. 

Although her childhood lacked the stability she has created for her own family — according to royal insiders, she found her mother’s early indiscretions ‘almost unbearable’ — Sarah remained a loving, dutiful daughter until the end.

Her mother’s death in 2002 — after a series of strokes and four years of suffering — saw her children by her side. 

Sarah, says a royal source, had been ‘selfless and often left her own family overnight to drive to KP to care for her mother’.

Sarah arrived at the chapel by car while her brother David Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon, (pictured with Prince Philip) joined the procession of senior royals walking behind the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin

Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon and Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones attend the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank at St George’s Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor

Margaret’s death also brought the Queen even closer to her only niece, in her new role as something of a surrogate mother. One, it appears, that endures to this day. 

Meanwhile David is honorary chairman for Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India of auctioneers Christie’s. He was promoted to the role in 2015 from his former role of chairman of Christie’s UK.

The Earl, also known by his professional name of David Linley, also produces luxury British accessories and has reportedly created the interiors for a number of exclusive central London homes. 

Linley was picked by Prince Charles, his first cousin, as number two in his The Prince’s Foundation, a new merger of his charity commitments, in 2018 – an appointment which raised eyebrows as he was chosen ahead of the heir to the throne’s sons William and Harry.

Last year a friend said: ‘David is very, very close to the Queen and Prince Charles. He goes to Sandringham at Christmas and turns up at Balmoral in the summer.’ 

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