King Yang Dipertuan Agong of Malaysia and Queen Elizabeth

The Queen's fashion faux pas on royal tour revealed – and it was done on purpose

Angela Kelly has worked with Her Majesty for a quarter of a century

Aisha Nozari

The Queen's dresser, Angela Kelly, has revealed in her new book one of the Queen's biggest ever fashion faux pars – and added that it was made on purpose. During a royal visit to Malaysia, Her Majesty actually decided to wear one of her hats back to front at the advice of Angela, who worried that the hat would not be complimentary if worn properly.

In her new book, The Other Side of the Coin: the Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, Angela discusses the secrets of Her Majesty's style and outfits, going into this particular incident in fascinating detail. Angela explained: "We were planning for Her Majesty's upcoming tour of Malaysia, where she would be closing the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. As the weather is so warm over there, it was decided that Her Majesty would wear a dress but no jacket or coat, and she chose a vibrant deep coral for the outfit and matching hat.


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"On the day of the ceremony, I was helping Her Majesty get ready and went to take the hat out of the box in which it had been carefully packed. As soon as I had it in my hands, I knew, deep down, that it was not going to suit the Queen. With a commanding shell-like brim and a very large flower on the reverse, it was certainly an interesting and beautifully made piece, but I had a gut feeling that it would not complement the outfit or enhance Her Majesty's features. 

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"As the morning went on, I became increasingly worried, so I decided I had to raise my concern and face the consequences later. So, I waited for the Queen to come into the dressing room, took a deep breath, and said, 'Your Majesty, I don't think you should wear this hat. It is not the right design for you and it won't suit you.' A long silence followed before she eventually looked up and said, 'Well, it's a bit late now. What else can I wear? I must wear it.' Although I admired her pragmatic approach, I was insistent. I told her I had been examining the hat from all angles and that it would be better worn back to front.

King Yang Dipertuan Agong of Malaysia and the Queen inspect an Honor Guard 

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"The Queen couldn’t believe that this would work. I told her that, if she did not believe me, she should consult the Duke of Edinburgh, as he always tells her the truth. At this point, I left the room feeling somewhat terrified, as you can imagine. Before long, Her Majesty called me back. She had consulted His Royal Highness and, after an amusing conversation, in which I imagine The Duke didn't hold back, the Queen had decided to wear the hat the wrong way around, as I had suggested."

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

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