Don’t expect to find any bombshells in the new tome by the Queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly, who for more than 20 years has designed and chosen Her Majesty’s outfits.
The book, to be published tomorrow, has been the subject of much fascination in royal circles as it has been specifically authorized by the Queen, marking the first time one of her employees has written a tell-all book and kept their job.
And while The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe may be accurately forecast to be low on scandalous insights, the extracts published Monday in Hello! magazine do show that this might be a suitable Christmas present for the whimsy and detail-loving royalist in your life.
For example, who could not fail to love this little anecdote related by Kelly and contained in the Hello! serialization: “As has been reported a lot in the press, a flunky wears in Her Majesty’s shoes to ensure that they are comfortable and that she is always good to go. And yes, I am that flunky. The Queen has very little time to herself and not time to wear in her own shoes, and as we share the same shoe size it makes the most sense this way.”
Some may think the palace has actually made good use of the book to dispel reports that the Queen was offended when Michelle Obama put her arm around her at a Buckingham Palace reception.
“The Queen has the ability to make everyone feel so relaxed that sometimes it feels instinctive to be tactile with her, just as Michelle Obama demonstrated during the State Visit with her husband, President Obama, in 2009,” Kelly writes. “Much has been made about the meeting between Michelle and Her Majesty when an instant and mutual warmth was shared between these two remarkable women, and protocol was abandoned as they stood closely with their arms around each other’s backs. In reality it was a natural instinct for the Queen to show affection and respect for another great woman and really there is no protocol that must be adhered to. When fondness is felt or the host of a State Visit goes to guide Her Majesty up some steps, it truly is about human kindness and this is something the Queen will always welcome warmly.”
Another anecdote concerns the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony film, in which she made a cameo appearance: “There are few occasions on which Her Majesty will agree to break protocol, but in 2011 when film director Danny Boyle approached the Royal Household, he had a request to make that we simply could not refuse. She was very amused by the idea and agreed immediately. I asked then if she would like a speaking part. Without hesitation, Her Majesty replied: “Of course I must say something. After all, he is coming to rescue me.”
“I asked whether she would like to say: “Good evening, James,” or “Good evening, Mr. Bond,” and she chose the latter, knowing the Bond films. Within minutes, I was back in Edward’s office delivering the good news to Danny—I think he almost fell off his chair when I said that the Queen’s only stipulation was that she could deliver that iconic line: “Good evening, Mr. Bond.”’
In 2018, the luxury underwear company Rigby and Peller was stripped of its royal warrant after a tell-all book by its founder, June Kenton, revealed details of HM’s bra fittings.