Byline: MAUREEN CULLEY
THE Queen is mourning the loss of her longest-serving employee who served her for half a century.
Andy Kemp, 66, was the foreman forester at Balmoral until his retirement last year and was acknowledged as a trusted servant of Her Majesty.
He died earlier this week at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary following a battle against cancer.
Insiders said the monarch was sure to be very upset at the passing of her former employee, whom she had known since his childhood when he began working for the Royal Family as a boy of 15.
In 2005, Mr Kemp was handed a rare honour when the Queen presented him with a gold Royal Victorian Medal (RVM) in recognition of his long and loyal service on the 50,000-acre Deeside estate where he was in charge of forestry.
He had previously been awarded a silver RVM for his dedicated service.
His close friend Ed Bushnell, who is married to Mr Kemp's cousin Jean, said yesterday: ' He will probably be the last person to work for the Queen for 50 years.
'He was on the estate for a long time, which is no mean feat considering the work he did. But he loved his job. He was so contented working and living on the estate and didn't want to be anywhere else.' Mr Kemp grew up in a cottage in Crathienaird, overlooking the Balmoral estate, in the same area that was also home to John Brown, the trusted personal servant and gillie of Queen Victoria.
And like John Brown, Mr Kemp attended school in Ballater then started work on his family's farm.
The keen amateur sportsman began his association with Balmoral when he joined a near 50-strong team of foresters tending the woods on the estate.
Rising to the role of foreman, he said he had seen many changes during his half-century in royal service. When he received his gold RVM, he said: ' There are only about five of us because it is all done by machines now, although it is a lot easier than it used to be. …