THE Queen’s devoted aide has lifted the lid on lockdown at the palace, including how the stress of becoming the monarch’s hairdresser led to her needing G&Ts.
Angela Kelly, who has been Her Majesty’s dresser for 28 years, was one of the few core staff part of “HSM Bubble” living at Windsor Castle.
In a new chapter of her book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, published in Hello!, Angela shared how she was tasked with washing and styling the Queen’s hair for the first time for Zoom calls.
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 shared how her team even nicknamed her services as “Kelly’s salon”.
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Originally from Liverpool, Angela is not a trained hairdresser, and admitted she was left “shaking” from nerves at first.
Divorcee Angela said she had only styled Her Majesty’s famous pristine locks once or twice when they had been on board the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Angela said the Queen was very understanding and showed her 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.”
She said that she joked to the Queen she needed a “stiff drink”, and when she returned to her room, the gin had been prepped by her team – which became a tradition after every session.
Angela said she “must have used a whole can of hairspray” to ensure her handiwork lasted the week for the royal Zoom calls.
However, the real test came when she had to prepare Her Majesty’s hair for her famous annual Christmas address.
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Angela joked she must have needed a “whole bottle” of gin, not just a glass, after that session.
The dedicated dresser stayed by the Queen’s side at the palace for two years, with hardly any days off.
Staff had to isolate in a separate part of the castle before their duties began, and their only freedom was taking walks in the private Home Park – or using the private pool.
A WhatsApp group was set up among those in HMS Bubble, and warnings were sent if food was being delivered so staff could stay out of the corridors to limit contact.
The Queen’s bagpipe player was outside of the bubble as he was physically outside the walls, but he continued to play each morning for the monarch.
Angela said he would also pick up Tesco “treat” food requests and drop them off in a Hub to be sanitised and delivered to castle occupants.
Staff who were in the “bubble” would organise film and games nights at 10pm after duties were finished, which included competitive games of Jenga and Mario Kart.
A “Bubble Olympics” was even organised, with the Queen acting as the prize giver.
Angela has served at Buckingham Palace since 1994 and officially holds the positions of Personal Advisor and Curator (The Queen’s Jewellery, Insignias and Wardrobe) and In-house Designer.
Despite being a current member of the royal household, she has been given “extraordinary permission” to publish details of her “working relationship” with the Queen.
It is the first time the monarch has allowed one of her staff to do so.
In a 2007 interview with the Telegraph, Angela revealed that she is treated with “respect” by the Queen.
She revealed: “We [the royal dressers] are not treated like flunkies.
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“It’s not like that. The Queen treats us with real respect.
“I don’t know why the Queen seems fond of me – because I don’t give her an easy time! I do think she values my opinion, but she is the one who is in control.
“I do worry about her and care about her. But we also have a lot of fun together. The Queen has a wicked sense of humour and is a great mimic. She can do all accents – including mine.”