The Queen’s personal dresser has revealed how she had to have a ‘gin and tonic’ to calm her nerves after she was trusted with doing Her Majesty’s hair over lockdown.
Angela Kelly, 64, who has been the Queen’s stylist for more than 30 years, shared a glimpse into the daily life at Windsor Castle during the pandemic in an updated version of her memoirs The Other Side Of The Coin: The Queen, The Dresser And The Wardrobe.
Kelly, who is also a personal assistant, was among the trusted aides who formed part of HMS Bubble – the core royal household who stayed with the Queen and Prince Philip during lockdown.
She describes how the Queen allowed staff to use the swimming pool and hold water fights when the rules allowed, in a relaxation of the ordinary protocol.
Angela Kelly, 64, who has been the Queen’s stylist for more than 30 years, shared a glimpse into the daily life at Windsor Castle during the pandemic in an updated version of her memoirs The Other Side Of The Coin: The Queen, The Dresser And The Wardrobe
Kelly, pictured in 2012, who has been working for the Queen since 1994, revealed how staff at Windsor Palace organised movie nights and were allowed to use a private pool on Home Park
Her Majesty also entrusted Ms Kelly to do her hair when she was forced to cut down her household staff.
‘The Queen was so kind as she advised me on the very specific way to put the rollers in,’ Kelly writes, in an extract published by Hello! magazine.
‘As I grew in confidence, I’m sure the Queen thought I was a professional and started shouting at me: “Don’t do that, do it this way. That’s right, you’ve got it, don’t change it”.
‘I was thinking, goodness me, I need a gin and tonic. So while the Queen was under the dryer I said to her “I’m off for a stiff drink because this is so stressful, getting it just right for you”.
‘After a much-needed rest I returned to the dressing room to comb out The Queen’s hair ready to style.’
Kelly was responsible for doing the Queen’s hair ahead of her Christmas address in 2020, which she described as so nerve-wracking she needed a bottle of gin afterwards.
Dedicated members of staff decided to isolate at Windsor Castle at the height of the pandemic so as to not passing the virus on to the Monarch
Angela and key members of her team all made the decision to isolate at Windsor Castle with the Queen, which meant they had no contact with the outside world and could not see their families, apart from video calls.
Angela admitted she was afraid of passing Covid-19 on to the monarch, and forced herself to adhere to very strict lockdown rules.
However, the staff isolating at the castle organised themselves in order to make their lockdown easier.
The Queen’s Pipe Major did not isolate at the Castle but kept on playing his bagpipe for the Queen everyday, from the other side of the wall.
He also became running errands for the staff, who would order sweets and treats from the shops to him via a WhatsApp group and pay him via a bank transfer.
All the products would be sanitised before the staff could get their hands on them.
The team would also organise movie and game nights to pass the time and would partake in intense games of Jenga, the dresser revealed, which was allowed because they were one single household.
As the lockdown progressed into the summer, the Queen graciously allowed her staff to use a restricted-access pool in Home Park, on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh began to isolate at Windsor Castle in what became known as ‘HMS Bubble’
Angela, who did not use the pool for fear of contracting covid-19 and passing it on to the Queen, said the rest of her staff were grateful and delighted, and said using the pool felt like a spa day.
The Queen also surprised staff in the Spring of 2020. Her stylist revealed the staff staying at the Castle decided to organise a sports day they dubbed ‘Bubble Olympics’, after the HMS Bubble.
A water bottle fight took place on the same day.
Ahead of the event, the dresser asked the Queen if she would like to surprise the staffers by hosting a prize-giving ceremony for the winners, and the monarch agreed.
The Queen hid in the bushes to watch the staff as the games unfolded before she stepped out to present the winner.
Kelly was given the Queen’s blessing to publish the first edition of The Other Side Of The Coin: The Queen, The Dresser And The Wardrobe in 2019
This revised edition, which will be released ahead of the Platinum Jubilee, also covers the first public engagements post-lockdown and looks ahead to the celebrations in June.
The title, published on May 12 by HarperCollins, reveals some of the behind-the-scenes tricks used for the monarch’s attire.
Kelly also was given the permission to discuss the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, which was a particularly difficult time for the Queen.
The Queen’s right-hand woman revealed the monarch had a moment of quiet reflection when she returned to Windsor Castle after Prince Philip’s funeral.