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Angela Kelly has served the Queen for 28 years, acting as Personal Advisor and Curator (The Queen’s Jewellery, Insignias and Wardrobe), as well as In-house Designer.
Angela was granted the privilege of living within the ‘HSM Bubble’ at Windsor Castle during lockdown, where she became responsible – for the first time – for washing and styling Her Majesty’s hair.
In her new book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and The Wardrobe, Angela shares her fond – and sometimes stressful – memories of lockdown life.
She wrote: “Due to the bubble restrictions, the Queen’s hairdresser was unable to come into the Castle, so I became a temporary hairdresser.
“From March 2020 onwards, I washed the Queen’s hair every week, set and styled it, and even trimmed it when needed.”
Angela had only been in charge of styling the Queen’s hair one or twice when on board the Royal Yacht Brittania, admitting that her first lockdown appointment left her ‘shaking’ from nerves.
However, she described how understanding Her Majesty was, demonstrating exactly how to place the rollers in her hair.
Angela continued: “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.”
After joking to the Queen that she needed a ‘stiff drink’, when she returned to the room a G&T was left waiting for her, having been prepared by one of the team.
The much-needed beverage soon became a tradition after every hair appointment.
Angela added she ‘must have used a whole can of hairspray’ to ensure her work lasted all week for the Queen’s Zoom calls.
The biggest test of all came when she had to prepare Her Majesty’s hair for her famous annual Christmas address, leaving her wanting ‘a whole bottle of gin’ after that particular session.
Angela remained by the Queen’s side at Windsor Castle for two years.
Although she remains a member of the royal household, the Queen’s aide has been granted ‘extraordinary permission’ to publicly document the pair’s ‘working relationship’ – the first time the monarch has allowed one of her staff to do so.
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