When Katherine Jenkins has friends over for dinner, they'll often make a beeline for her stage-wear room, where she keeps every dress in which she has performed. And it's quite a collection, with more than 250 exquisite stage gowns from a career spanning more than 16 years, all organised by colour and stored carefully behind glass doors. "People have a few glasses of wine and, before you know it, they’re in there trying on dresses, going up and down the stairs wearing my ostrich tail feathers," laughs the mum of two. "It's such a great room and brings out the fun in people."
Katherine Jenkins at the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations
Of the collection, Katherine revealed that one of the dresses has a very special story behind it – the one she chose to wear for the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle in May 2016. "It was such an honour to be invited to take part in the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle in May 2016 – one of those pinch-me moments – and I wanted a dress that would suit the occasion," she said. "It was a night of musical and military displays, and I sang I Vow to Thee, My Country. I thought of having a dress that was red, white and blue, the colours of the British flag, and I was at a dress fitting with Suzanne Neville when I asked my manager to take a photo. She pointed out that the way the colours were arranged, the dress looked more like the French flag! I thought: 'Oh my gosh, what a disaster! I can’t wear that!' So Suzanne and I had a brainstorm, managed to find a huge Union Jack and she sewed it in overnight. I had a sleepless night worrying about it, but it made the dress better and gave it a good story."
She added: "It was a lovely night – Shirley Bassey, Helen Mirren, Andrea Bocelli, Kylie and many other amazing people were part of it. I felt a bit choked and thought: 'This is massive. Please don’t mess this up: everyone's watching.' I don’t usually feel like that but we all had a sense of occasion."
Katherine's other special dresses include the 20 dresses that were made for her during her stint of Dancing with the Stars in May 2012, and the Dolce & Gabbana dress she wore when she performed a duet with Kylie Minogue at the Royal Albert Hall in December 2016. The pair sang a version of Your Disco Needs You, and Katherine's gown was complete with a silver cape lined with LGBTQ+ rainbow flag and a hat with a big red feather. "It felt like the Royal Albert Hall was filled with glitter and I came on stage through some feathers, so not my usual entrance. Andrew [Levitas, Katherine’s husband] was in the audience as well as two of my best friends, who thought it was the best night of their lives," she said.
To read the full story, pick up the latest copy of HELLO!, out Monday 18 March
An Evening with Katherine Jenkins UK tour kicks off in Oxford on the 26th April and will be at the London Palladium on Sat 18th May. Visit katherinejenkins.co.uk