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Ruth, Lady Fermoy

RUTH, Lady Fermoy, maternal grandmother of the Princess of Wales, has died peacefully at her London home. She was 84.

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The Princess has decided to go ahead with a visit to Zimbabwe but will almost certainly attend the funeral in King's Lynn, Norfolk, next Thursday.

As well as being grandmother to the Princess and Earl Spencer, Lady Fermoy was a friend and close confidante of the Queen Mother. For more than 30 years, she served as a lady-in-waiting at Clarence House and was popular in royal circles.

She is widely suspected of being the matchmaker in the romance between the Prince and Princess of Wales -- a role she strongly denied.

Lady Fermoy was a leading courtier, becoming Woman of the Bedchamber to the Queen Mother in 1960 and a guiding light for the young Princess.

She was said to have seen her grand-daughter's decision to seek a formal separation from the Prince as a betrayal of the royal family she had served for so long.

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