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When it comes to the royal family, there are a lot of titles and positions that most people may not understand. For example, though Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge will most likely eventually be married to a king, she will never receive the title of queen, instead, she will be called Queen consort. One of the titles that is most confusing is Lady-in-waiting. What is a Lady-in-Waiting? Is she a member of the royal family? What is her job?

Susan Rhodes (Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Elizabeth II) and Queen Elizabeth II at the National Service of Remembrance
Susan Rhodes (Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Elizabeth II) and Queen Elizabeth II | Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images

What does Lady-in-waiting mean?

While other celebrities call their right-hand people “assistants,” royal women have ladies in waiting. A lady-in-waiting is historically also a noble woman, but one who is of lesser rank than the woman she is serving. A queen will typically have several ladies in waiting.

The Mistress of Robes will manage the queens clothing and manage the schedules of the other ladies in waiting. The Women of the Bedchamber help the queen dress, undress, and bathe, according to Hello Magazine.

Is the job paid?

Surpringly, the ladies-in-waiting are not paid for their roles. The job is reportedly a lifetime position that pays in friendship with the queen. The women are said to fulfill these positions out of personal loyalty to the monarch. As they often come from well-off families themselves, the lack of pay is typically not a problem.

Lady-in-waiting Susan Hussey

Lady Susan Hussey is senior in her role. She has been assisting Elizabeth since 1960. When she originally took the job, she was the Woman of the Bedchamber and took the job primarily to help the queen answer a stream of letters that were sent after Prince Andrew was born.

Since then, she has been known as the “Number One Head Girl” for the queen.

Hussey is now a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, which is the highest rank that can be granted by a sovereign. Before that she was already noble. She is the daughter of the 12th Earl of Waldegrave. In 1959, she married former BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey. The two were together until he died in 2006.

Hussey is so close to the queen and her family that she was named one of the three godmothers of Prince William. The other two godmothers are the queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra and Princess Diana’s friend Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey (Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth II at the Remembrance Sunday Service
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey (Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth II) | Indigo/Getty Images

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Lady Susan Hussey was at Prince Philip’s funeral

Since Prince Philip’s passing, people have wondered where the queen has been seeking comfort. Lady Susan did attend the funeral with the queen, however she attended as part of her position and therefore did not sit with the Windsors.

The queen currently has four other ladies-in-waiting, Ann Fortune FitzRoy, the Duchess of Grafton, Susan Rhodes, Lady Elizabeth Leeming, and The Hon Mary Morrison.