In a world exclusive, HELLO! magazine has published extracts and unseen photographs from a new book by the Queen’s dressmaker and close confidant, Angela Kelly. In The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, Angela reveals the secrets behind the Queen's part in a James Bond sketch at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony – and dispels reports that the Queen was offended by Michelle Obama's tactile greeting during a Buckingham Palace reception.
Picture credit: Barry Jeffery
"The Queen has the ability to make everyone feel so relaxed that sometimes it feels instinctive to be tactile with her, just as Michelle Obama demonstrated during the State Visit with her husband, President Obama, in 2009," Angela writes.
"Much has been made about the meeting between Michelle and Her Majesty when an instant and mutual warmth was shared between these two remarkable women, and protocol was abandoned as they stood closely with their arms around each other's backs. In reality it was a natural instinct for the Queen to show affection and respect for another great woman and really there is no protocol that must be adhered to. When fondness is felt or the host of a State Visit goes to guide her Majesty up some steps, it truly is about human kindness and this is something the Queen will always welcome warmly."
Angela Kelly is the Queen's dressmaker and close confidant
In the book, Angela also reveals that she personally wears in Her Majesty's shoes before engagements. "As has been reported a lot in the press, a flunky wears in Her Majesty's shoes to ensure that they are comfortable and that she is always good to go. And yes, I am that flunky. 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."
Angela also recalls that she was presented with Danny Boyle's plan to include the Queen in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony through Private Secretary Edward Young. She took immediate action. "There are few occasions on which Her Majesty will agree to break protocol, but in 2011 when film director Danny Boyle approached the Royal Household, he had a request to make that we simply could not refuse. She was very amused by the idea and agreed immediately. 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.’
Angela's new book is out later this week
"I asked whether she would like to say: ‘Good evening, James,’ or ‘Good evening, Mr Bond, and she chose the latter, knowing the Bond films. Within minutes, I was back in Edward’s office delivering the good news to Danny – I think he almost fell off his chair when I said that the Queen’s only stipulation was that she could deliver that iconic line: "Good evening, Mr Bond."
And she also reveals the secret behind recreating a replica of the Honiton Christening gown, first used for the christening of James, Viscount Severn, in 2008.
"To make sure it looked authentic we dyed it in Yorkshire tea (the strongest, as we all know). We placed each piece of lace in a small bowl, from the Dressers’ kitchen, filled with cool water and a tea bag and left it for about five minutes, checking regularly until the colour was perfect. At each stage of the process I would show our progress to the Queen: first the bodies, then the sleeves attached to it, then the skirt with the under-layers on, and finally the completed robe. Her Majesty was very interested to see how it was developing."
To read more of extracts, pick up the latest issue of HELLO!, out on Monday