When you’re Queen Elizabeth, there’s not a lot that you can’t do, am I right?
It was recently revealed that the Queen has a member of her staff break in her shoes for her before she wears them.
And it’s not just any staff member — the Queen has her trusted confidant and dressmaker take her shoes for a spin.
Angela Kelly, the dressmaker in question, reveals this truth in her new book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and the Wardrobe. In the book, Kelly explains, “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.”
The Queen’s need for comfortable shoes is very real.
In 2011, a previous wardrobe designer explained, “The shoes have to be immediately comfortable. She does get someone to wear them. The Queen can never say, ‘I’m uncomfortable, I can’t walk anymore.’ She has the right to have someone wear them in.”
Angela Kelly’s book will be released on October 29. The book is fully endorsed by Queen Elizabeth, which automatically gifts it authenticity. Fans of the Queen can see behind-the-scenes photos of her wardrobe, jewelry, and of Elizabeth herself.
Angela has been the Queen’s official Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser since 2011. As such, she chooses the Queen’s entire ensembles. She is also the woman who designed the replica of the royal christening gown that has been used since 2004.
Angela is also the founder of fashion label Kelly & Pordum. Her cofounder is Alison Pordum, who worked as Queen Elizabeth’s dressmaker until 2008. This is actually her second book about the Queen. The first is 2013’s Dressing the Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe.
Early reviews of the book are positive, especially if readers are already interested in the inner workings of Buckingham Palace. The Queen gave Angela permission to write about the process of dressing her but also about their working relationship.
This is also the first time a member of the royal staff has been given permission to write this kind of book. Samantha Cohen, former assistant private secretary to the Queen, explains, “The book(s) documents the unique working relationship between Her Majesty The Queen and the woman who has been her Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser for more than two decades: Angela Kelly.”
Cohen went on to tell Town & Country, “It gives a rare insight into the demands of the job of supporting the Monarch, and we gain privileged insight into a successful working relationship, characterized by humor, creativity, hard work, and a mutual commitment to service and duty. Angela is a talented and inspiring woman, who has captured the highlights of her long career with The Queen for us all to share.”
In 2007, Angela told the Telegraph that she doesn’t know why the Queen likes her so much. “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. She always makes the final decision.”
This isn’t the first time a Buckingham Palace staff member has written a book about their experiences. In 2014, former press chief Dickie Arbiter released an explosive tell-all that resulted in a “crackdown” on staff memoirs.
The Little Princesses was written by the woman who worked as Elizabeth and Margaret’s nanny for 16 years with permission from Elizabeth’s mother. The book caused an uproar after publication, and the Queen Mother refused to speak to the nanny ever again.
HarperCollins, the publisher of Angela’s book, was pleased to be part of this current project. Their recent statement read, “The work undertaken by Angela and her team is to ensure that anyone in the same room as The Queen will be awestruck, and the way they deliver this reaction is incredibly detailed and clever. The book, and its many gorgeous photographs, sheds light on all of this, as well as the history of Angela’s role, but more importantly and interestingly on the extraordinary working relationship between Her Majesty and one of her most trusted employees, giving us a personal glimpse of the other side of that famous image on every British coin.”