The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe

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The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe

The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe

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When I read how the Queen's "dresser" got permission to write this book, I thought of the sad story of the Queen's childhood governess, her beloved "Crawfie." Ms Crawford played a vital role in the development of Princess Elizabeth and her sister, but in retirement she made the mistake of writing a book about her time with the royal family. The book was completely positive and gives valuable information about the Queen's formative years. For the nearly seven decades of her reign, Her Majesty The Queen has used clothing to create a powerful visual identity that transcends fashion and has made her perhaps the most readily identifiable person on the planet. Angela Kelly, building on the work of the great designers and milliners who have worked with Her Majesty through the years – including couturiers Sir Norman Hartnell, Sir Hardy Amies, and Ian Thomas, and milliners such as Simone Mirman and Freddy Fox – brings her own imagination to bear on an iconic ‘uniform’ that suggests continuity and tradition, and ensures that the wearer is always the most visible person in a room or a crowd.’–Anna Wintour, Vogue

Angela also shares her love for design with her granddaughter Scarlett, which made me smile as I share my own sewing stories with my own grandmother Carol. I enjoyed learning about Kelly's personal memories about trips abroad, especially when she came to Canada and worked with the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia and her special fondness for the province of Saskatchewan; One crucial factor was the dress The Queen would wear for the momentous skydive. I had to be careful not to choose a colour that was strongly associated with any of the participating nations, too, so after much consideration, I chose peach. However, the colour wasn't the only factor, the dress also had to be designed perfectly to allow movement in the skirt as The Queen seemingly flew through the air." One of the good things about working in the same job for such a long time is that it allows you to put things right that haven't gone quite as planned in the past." Not that she doesn't value discretion. She met the author during a royal visit to the British Embassy in Germany, where Kelly was the housekeeper. Asked about who would be the next guest there, Kelly refused to say, citing the pledge she had given not to divulge details of her duties. The Queen and Prince Philip were amused at Kelly's firmness, but they didn't forget it, either. Soon afterwards, she returned to England and was approached about a job in the Palace. The Royals like staff who can keep their mouths shut!A few of the photos are only of scenic locations (e.g. the Taj Mahal, the Sydney Opera House, etc.) with no one in the shots.

Update: I was interested (but not surprised) to learn that when the Queen retreated to Windsor Castle (after being widowed and in the face of the pandemic) the author was invited to live with her full time. Clearly, Ms Kelly was a cherished companion, as well as the keeper of the wardrobe. That she and Prince Philip didn’t see each other for weeks after he retired from public duties in 2017

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The way Queen Elizabeth II came to the London Olympics inauguration garnered much public attention. The author takes us to some new information that happened behind the scenes, how this whole procedure was carried out, and why the Queen agreed to do such a funny video with James Bond breaking the protocol. that the blue and yellow "EU" dress worn during the Opening of Parliament was purely unintentional! Kelly founded a fashion label, Kelly & Pordum, with Alison Pordum, who was also employed as the Queen's in-house dressmaker until 2008. Kelly is also the author of Dressing the Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe and The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe. how Kelly prepared HM for her entrance to the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the making of her hologram, and for various professional photography sessions;

I would have been interested to read more in the book about the history of the position of the Queen's dresser over the course of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Kelly notes that previous dressers did not keep records concerning the provenance of materials in the Queen's wardrobe and I would liked to learn more about the challenges Kelly faced in organizing the Queen's fashions when she began her role. A fascinating glimpse of life behind the scenes in the Queen's household. As the Queen's Personal Assistant and senior dresser, Angela Kelly describes her numerous duties including consulting with Queen about suitable fashions for every occasion, caring for delicate fabrics and conducting advance visits to royal tour itineraries to plan the Queen's wardrobe. Kelly also describes the more unique aspects of her role including ironing on the royal train (following the rhythm of the train "like surfing") and letting the bookies know when to close the betting on the colour of the Queen's hat at Royal Ascot. Author Angela Kelly is front and center in charge of the royal wardrobe. No detail is too small. It took her and her amazing team two years to design, choose fabrics, and make the wardrobe a reality for both the Jubilee and the Olympics, where the eyes of the world would be on Queen Elizabeth. They did an outstanding job. I absolutely loved the stunning photos in the hardcopy! Many have never been seen before! The colors were especially dazzling!

Customer reviews

In 2012 Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, 60 years on the throne, only the second English monarch to do so, Queen Victoria being the first. Even in an ordinary year she attends many events, but this year was special so more were planned, and her wardrobe had to be special too. Angela Kelly serves as the queen's personal assistant, advisor and curator of the personal jewel collection. She also designs most of the queen's wardrobe, including hats, but always with input from the queen. Everything has to be reasonably comfortable to wear, easily seen in a crowd. They start with the fabric which has to not crease or crush easily. They do special shopping, but start with the collection of fabric they already have, much of it bought on previous trips overseas as well as locally in the UK. The wardrobe is made in-house by dressmakers, with a milliner for the hats. The author is a professional royal family dresser. So she goes into the details of selecting costumes for the Queen and what she considered and discussed with the Queen while choosing each outfit. If you are someone who is reading this book just to know more about Queen and not a fashion aficionado and are not interested to know anything about her wardrobe, haute couture, and fashion, you will find some of these areas of this book boring.

With the help of Angela Kelly, she opted for yellow and pink and powder blue, in summery dresses with pretty floral designs." There are a lot of fillers inserted as chapters, by other staff, by photographers, by designers on how wonderful Angela Kelly is, what a joy to work for, such a privilege to be invited to work for the Queen. Major toadying. I wouldn't say it was boasting as I think these were probably inserted by an editor to pad out this insubstantial book. Mary Angela Kelly, LVO (born 4 November 1957, Liverpool), is a British fashion designer, dressmaker, and milliner, who served as Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser to Queen Elizabeth II from 2002 to the Queen's death in 2022. Her official title is Personal Assistant, Adviser and Curator to Her Majesty The Queen (Jewellery, Insignias and Wardrobe). I'm not a clothes horse OR a follower of the Royals, but I was fascinated by Kelly's stories of her childhood as one of six children in a working class family in Liverpool. She started working at age fifteen and married and had three children by the time she was in her twenties. She was divorced when she was hired to take charge of the Queen's wardrobe. In 2008, Her Majesty was invited to Slovenia and Slovakia for a four-day State Visit. Three months before, I traveled with a small group of the Royal Household to both countries to do our usual recce ahead of the Royal visit.

Keeping in mind that there hadn't been a Diamond Jubilee since 1897 for Queen Victoria, and add the fact that in 2012 London was also hosting the Olympics, and you can see that the pressure was definitely more than "on" for the talented people in charge of her wardrobe.



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