A new book by the Queen’s official dressmaker, Angela Kelly, offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the monarch’s life.
From the Queen’s James Bond cameo at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics to her being the subject of a good-natured April Fool’s prank, the curtain has been lifted ever-so-slightly on what life within the Royal Household is like.
The book, titled “The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe” will be released Tuesday, and Hello! magazine, which holds the serialization rights, has published some interesting details.
Angela Kelly, who has worked for the Queen for the past 25 years, gained permission from her employer to write an account of their time together. According to Hello! magazine, Kelly wrote in her book: “It was a joy to reminisce with the Queen over these stories and now having the honour of sharing them with you. The Queen was with me every step of the way.”
Here are five secrets revealed about the Queen:
1) Good evening, Mr Bond
The Queen rarely breaks with protocol, Kelly writes, but the monarch decided to accept film director Danny Boyle’s offer to appear in a short film with Bond for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Boyle told Kelly about his plan for the Queen to be greeted by Bond, played by Daniel Craig, and seemingly escorted to a helicopter.
Kelly was the staffer who went directly to the Queen to ask her whether she would take on the role.
The Queen was “amused” by the idea and immediately agreed to it, according to the serialization.
“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.’”
Kelly said that the “Queen’s only stipulation was that she could deliver that iconic line: ‘Good evening, Mr Bond.’”
She added that Boyle “almost fell off his chair” at the news.
2) Breaking royal protocol with Michelle Obama
Another piece of protocol dictates that visitors should not put their arm around the Queen, according to Kelly.
Speaking of the Obamas’ visit to the UK in April 2009, Kelly writes that sometimes this consideration goes out the window when “human instincts kick in.”
In a much-publicized moment, the Queen and Michelle Obama stood with their arms around each other.
Kelly writes that “it was a natural instinct for the Queen to show affection and respect for another great woman.”
3) Wearing in the Queen’s shoes
Kelly admits in the serialization that she is the so-called “flunky” who wears in the monarch’s shoes to make them comfortable.
“The Queen has very little time to herself and no time to wear in her own shoes, and as we share the same shoe size it makes the most sense this way,” Kelly writes.
4) Christening robe dyed in Yorkshire tea
The Queen asked Kelly in 2004 to make a replica of a christening robe, which had been worn by 62 members of the royal family since it was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841, book extracts reveal.
After sourcing the lace from Italy, it took Kelly and the dressmaker Barbara Buckfield nine months to produce.
To ensure it looked as authentic as possible, they dyed each piece of lace in a cold bowl of Yorkshire tea, according to the book.
The robe has been worn by the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
5) April Fools
Kelly also recounts a prank she played on the Queen when they were in Australia in 2006.
As an April Fool, she said she placed a toy kookaburra on the balcony of the Queen’s room and pretended it had died.
When the Queen got wind of the trick, the book says she jokingly retorted: “You’re sacked.”
Kelly said: “I’m pleased to say the toy is with us in Windsor Castle and has pride of place on the back of the sofa in the Queen’s sitting room. I laugh to myself every time I see it.”