Exclusive: The Queen's dresser has a clever trick to stop insider betting on her Ascot hats

Angela Kelly shares her insider knowledge

Emily Nash

The Queen's dresser lays out decoy hats at Windsor Castle during Royal Ascot each year to prevent insider betting, she reveals in a new book. Angela Kelly, who has worked with Her Majesty for a quarter of a century, display a selection of previously worn hats on a table in her workroom to prevent staff or others being tempted to use inside knowledge to cheat the bookies. Each year, punters flock to put money on the colour she will choose for her day at the races, and Angela reveals she came up with the idea after someone attempted to bet more than £2,000 on the Queen's hat.

In her book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and The Wardrobe, she says: "Each morning I place four or five previously worn hats on a table in the workroom. They are different colours and styles and are on display for a reason.

The Queen wearing a pink Angela Kelly design at Royal Ascot 2019

"Anyone who happens to pass the room will see those hats. They are not hidden behind a closed door and no secret is made of them. This will stop anyone catching sight of the hat Her Majesty actually intends to wear and, with inside knowledge, betting a vast amount of money on the correct colour of the Queen's hat for opening day at Royal Ascot. This is cheating and unfair on everyone else.

"It happened once, which was why this system was devised. Luckily, that year, the bookies clocked that something wasn't right with the bet in question, which was over £2,000 and they put a stop to it."

The Queen's hats are always a talking point

Angela reveals she also met with bookmakers Paddy Power to get them to agree to close betting on the Queen's hat at a certain time, to further prevent cheating. She adds: "I was horrified when I learned about the incident from the paper the next morning. When Ascot Week had finished, I had a meeting with the owner of Paddy Power at which we agreed that betting on the colour of the Queen’s hat would be closed at a certain time to avoid any cheating, but allowed people to carry on guessing the colour of the Queen’s hat and perhaps even win a bit of money."

Read the full report in this week's issue of HELLO! magazine, out on Monday. 

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