A sketch of the outfi t Above: A milliner chooses a feather for the Queen’s hat Right: The Queen at the Armed Forces Diamond Jubilee Parade and Muster in the fi nished outfi t
Thursday, 15 November 2012

Inside the Queen's wardrobe

How DO you pick an outfit that the whole world will see? A fascinating new book goes behind the scenes with Angela Kelly, the Queen’s dresser…

She is without doubt the world’s most iconic living woman. So what’s it like to be responsible for the Queen’s remarkable wardrobe? Well, a new book has the answers, offering a glimpse into the life of Angela Kelly, who has been personal dresser to the Queen for the past 18 years.

The Queen’s famous frock from her James Bond-stunt Olympics Opening Ceremony collection. Angela worked closely with Danny Boyle’s Olympics team to ensure that the dresses worn by the Queen and her stunt double were exactly the sameThe Queen’s famous frock from her James Bond-stunt Olympics Opening Ceremony collection. Angela worked closely with Danny Boyle’s Olympics team to ensure that the dresses worn by the Queen and her stunt double were exactly the same

It is no easy task. The Queen, after all, is constantly in the public eye, with millions – or even, during this year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, billions – likely to spot any fashion ‘malfunctions’.

For particularly important occasions, as many as a dozen staff look after the Queen’s wardrobe department. But this isn’t just a case of doing the laundry Angela also designs the Queen’s outfits, sketching out at least four possibilities for each, so the Queen can pick her favourite. Fans are even employed to see how her creations will move in the breeze. Nothing is left to chance, right down to the size and colour of Her Majesty’s umbrella.

The Queen's wardobeA team of designers prepare the outfits and a choice of brooches, shoes, gloves and headscarves on the day that outfits will be worn. The gold lamé cocktail dress the Queen chose for the Diamond Jubilee pop concert was influenced by the golden figure of the Queen Victoria Memorial, around which the stage was constructed. Umbrellas are always transparent to give spectators a clear view of the Queen's face. The handle and trim is colour coordinated

The approved outfits are shaped around a mannequin of the monarch, but don’t expect anyone to give away her dimensions – the measurements are top secret.

In any event, Angela and her team certainly do an outstanding job. The proof, after all, is there for the whole world to see.

Dressing The Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe by Angela Kelly is out now (The Royal Collection Trust, £24.95).


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