When Elizabeth became Queen 70 years ago, the nervous young woman sought solace in the two women who knew her best – her mother, and her sister Princess Margaret.
Then, in the few decades since the deaths of both, Her Majesty found her inner circle largely consisted of men, including her husband Prince Philip, son Prince Charles and grandson Prince William.
But now, at almost 96, that's about to change.
Last week, the Queen made a bombshell announcement that she wished for her daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to be known as Queen Consort when her son accedes to the throne, and sources say this is a sign she's reshaping the family.
"For the next three generations, Her Majesty is acutely aware that the sovereign will be a man," says a source.
"She wants to ensure the women supporting them or raising them are feeling very much included in the future, so she called Camilla and Kate to Windsor Castle late last year for a bonding experience.
"The Queen wanted to encourage Kate and Camilla to become close so they have each other to lean on."
Indeed, Kate, 40, was pictured alongside Camilla, 74, at a rare joint royal engagement, where they showed off what onlookers tell Woman's Day was an "easy manner" between them.
A palace insider says, "Kate and Camilla have always got on, but they've become firm friends since the Queen sat down with them.
"We'll see them united on a lot of issues, which was the Queen's wish. It's a far cry from how the Queen once felt about Camilla.
"More than 20 years ago, the Queen refused to attend her eldest son's 50th birthday because Camilla was going to be there – now, she's practically shoving her onto the throne!" says a source.
"Camilla knew back then that she was facing a gargantuan task winning over her mother-in-law, but she played an incredible long game – she worked hard, never complained, and showed her loyalty to Charles and his family. In the Queen's mind, she deserves this honour."
It won't all be ribbon and cake-cutting for the royal family's new star twosome, with the Queen warning they'll soon have to handle "delicate matters" without her.
"At their summit, no one tiptoed around the serious issues, especially when it came to Prince Harry, or the Prince Andrew disaster," says a source.
"The Andrew situation is in hand, but they agreed this feud between the princes has to stop.
"They privately feel Meghan is their biggest obstacle to achieving family unity. The Queen made them promise they would always welcome Harry back with open arms."