Secrets of the Queen’s royal dresser

The Queen’s confidante has revealed yet more secrets about life at Buckingham Palace including the time Her Majesty publicly wore her hat back to front.

Angela Kelly, who dressed the Queen for 25 years, has divulged dozens of remarkable stories from her time serving within the royal household.

She revealed how her own quick-thinking helped to avoid disaster at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur after the Queen’s hat arrived late.

The Queen had been due to wear the hat as she officially closed the games but was distraught to find that it was unsuitable.
Ms Kelly then suggested the coral hat, which featured a shell brim, be worn backwards, but the Queen remained unconvinced.


The dressmaker told the Queen to ask the Duke of Edinburgh because he always gave an honest opinion, and he agreed.

Ms Kelly, writing in her new book The Other Side Of The Coin: The Queen, The Dresser And The Wardrobe, also helped to avoid a similar wardrobe malfunction when the Queen met with the Pope in 2000.

A private secretary had told the Queen that she would fine to wear a day dress for the occasion, but the Catholic Ms Kelly disagreed.
She insisted that black and navy blue versions of the Queen’s favourite dress be made just in case.

On the day, a panicked secretary asked if there were any other suitable dresses for the Queen to wear after discovering the pink version allocated was unsuitable.

Ms Kelly revealed the two dresses she had ordered, writing: ‘I vividly remember the brief look of relief on the Queen’s face.’
In another tale, Miss Kelly revealed how the Queen joked about being dressed by ‘Queen Victoria’ during a stay at Balmoral – telling guests her great, great grandmother helped her get ready for a dinner.

The head of state was happy to let her dressers carry out their normal duties while wearing fancy dress ahead of a staff party – seeing the funny side of things.

The Queen insisted staff be allowed to wear their costumes to work at Balmoral, so they would not be late for their big night.
Ms Kelly said the party was staged a few years ago and her assistant came as Queen Victoria, while another worker was John Brown, Victoria’s close friend and supporter.

The Queen’s personal adviser, curator and in-house designer, who was dressed as singer Cheryl Cole, said the Victoria costume ‘went down a treat with Her Majesty’.

She added: ‘Then, on her way down the stairs, we heard her explain to her guess “I’ve just been dressed by Queen Victoria and Mr Brown! I’ve been dressed by Queen Victoria herself, and John Brown. And I believe by Cheryl Cole”.’

The book also recounts how the Queen’s famous dry wit convinced her royal aid to change a new hair style.

Ms Kelly said she had updated her look, deciding to ‘stay blonde on top but go dark underneath which was the fashion at the time’.

She said: ‘When the Queen saw me the following morning, she looked at me and asked ‘have you ever seen a pint of Guinness?’

‘I replied that, yes, I had, and her response was simply ‘hmm’ as if to say, ‘I will say no more’.

‘Needless to say, I was straight down to the hairdresser the next day to change it back to blonde.’

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