Queen and Philip ‘had great faith in their son’, former top royal aide reveals

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had “great faith” in the abilities of their son, now the King, according to the former monarch’s top aide.

Lord Young of Old Windsor, the late Queen’s private secretary, paid tribute to his former boss in his maiden speech in the House of Lords.

The independent crossbench peer described how he learned about “the nature of public service, of decency and duty” from Britain’s longest-serving sovereign – and said he thought his choice of title would have “appealed” to her.

Lord Young spent 20 years in the Royal Household, serving as the late Queen’s assistant, then as her deputy private secretary and finally as her private secretary from 2017 until her death.

Upon the Queen’s death in 2022, he served as joint principal private secretary to the King until May this year.

He told peers in Westminster, during the fifth day of debate on the King’s Speech: “I come to this House as Lord Young of Old Windsor.

“The village of Old Windsor has happy family connections for me. As children, we had Sunday excursions there led by my late parents – my mother an NHS nurse, my father a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

“But the title also I think would have appealed to my late boss’s crossword-solving mind. ‘Old’ can also mean ‘former’, and so ‘Old Windsor’ can mean – well, you get the gist.”

He went on: “I learned so much from Her late Majesty about the nature of public service, of decency and duty and indeed about the stability and sanctity of our constitutional settlement, and the part played by this House in ensuring the tripartite balance of Commons and Lords and Crown in Parliament.

“I came to understand the great faith that Her Majesty and indeed Prince Philip had in the abilities of their son, now our King, a faith well justified, as illustrated by his first 14 months as our sovereign, including, of course, his most recent visit to this House, where Commons and Lords were assembled together to receive The Gracious Speech.”

He added that the Commonwealth was “one of the things closest to the heart of our late Queen and indeed our King”, and noted an increasing appetite for “fresh and equitable relationships” with Commonwealth countries in areas such as trade, peace and security, climate, and culture.

He added that there is “widespread public confusion” about Commonwealth realms versus Commonwealth member countries, and that more should be done to educate people.

Finally, he expressed “concern” about the fate of the Commonwealth Games amid news that Australia has been given three months to find a host city for the 2026 event.