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Georgia Toffolo reveals what she most admires about the Queen ahead of Platinum Jubilee
In partnership with Dubonnet
As the nation prepares to celebrate the Queen and her monumental Platinum Jubilee, one person who will be front and centre of the festivities is Georgia Toffolo – with a glass of Dubonnet in hand.
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"I'm a great lover of tradition, so how could I not love the royal family?" says Georgia, or Toff as she is known by her friends, family and fans.
In an exclusive chat with HELLO!, the 27-year-old TV personality opens up about her admiration for the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge – "She steps up when she needs to" – and what she hopes to see in the modern monarchy. Plus, she also reveals the biggest misconception people have about her.
Georgia Toffolo stars on our Jubilee Digital Cover
Toff, have you always been a fan of the Queen and the royal family?
"Hugely. I'm a great lover of tradition, so how could I not love the royal family? And I think, not to get too serious, but the duty and the economic value that they give to our country is something that shouldn't be put to the side. Millions and millions of people travel to the UK to see our wonderful royal family and I know that it's been a bit turbulent recently with some of the tours, but from my perspective, I'm very proud to be British and that we have our royal family.
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"I have a King Charles Cavalier. That's how patriotic I am. Little Monty. He's quite regal, but he's a bit naughty. I don't know whether Prince Charles, when he becomes King, would be quite as naughty!"
What is it that you most admire about the Queen?
"It's her civil sense of duty. If you imagine the amount of engagements that woman has done over her reign, it's the most extraordinary thing. And the way she holds herself and conducts her family, I think it's a real testament to British values. I couldn't be prouder.
"I do love politics and it made me giggle when the Queen missed the State Opening of Parliament, but she went to the Royal Windsor Horse Show and the Chelsea Flower Show. I love her. I think I'd be the same in my nineties."
Have you met any of the royals?
"I used to go to Mahiki the night after Prince Harry would go, just because me and my girlfriends really wanted to see him. But alas, I never saw Prince Harry. But I did try to in a very cringe way."
Who would you most like to meet?
"Kate Middleton. 100 per cent. I adore her. I think she's amazing. She steps up when she needs to but she has beautiful family time as well. I think she stays quiet at the right moment but she's very vocal about the things that matter. I hope that our modern royal family looks more like them." What changes would you like to see in a modern royal family?
"The royal family is so big now. I think we've got to have the jewels in our crown – not to use a funny analogy – but the royals who are doing the most extraordinary things, I want them to be celebrated all the time. Royals like Kate Middleton will never be able to have a normal nine to five job. She is a queen in waiting, that's her role. I think the royals like her, who have given up so much, should be held in the highest esteem.
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"And I think the royals who maybe aren't doing as much and who have other vested interests commercially, who are exploring more showbiz routes like I do – which is a glorious thing and I'm really proud of what I do – should be family members.
"I think we need to take a step back and think about what some people have given up. I think there would be great use in accentuating the more prominent royals and keeping the less prominent royals as part of the wider family."
So do you agree with the Queen's decision to only have working royals take part in the balcony moment at Trooping the Colour, for example?
"Yes. I think that's the right thing. It's like at a wedding, where on the top table you have the immediate family members. But you still have maids of honours and bridesmaids and very special people playing other roles. Prince Harry and Meghan will still be part of the celebrations, for example, but you can't have non-working royals standing there on the balcony.
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"They are still so valued and so loved. We've heard the briefings from the Queen. Fine, there have been some tricky times. But both sides have been very upfront about it and saying that they are still family members.
"For such a monumental event in the Queen's Jubilee year, all her grandchildren need to be there with their partners. And I mean, who cares about standing on a balcony? I frankly don't. I hope it will be the union that the family needs."
What do you think about how Prince Harry and Meghan are perceived by the public and in the media?
"I feel desperately sad. One of my fondest memories at school was Prince William and Kate's wedding. And it was a really special time. We all crowded around the TV and it was just glorious. And then I look at Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding. If I'm being totally honest, I was way more excited for Harry and Meghan's wedding. I love the monarchy and I felt that we were very privileged to have a woman like her who was so successful in her own right, to choose to marry our beloved Prince. I went to Windsor with my grandparents and I had my bunting and my flag. I will never forget it. What are your plans for the Jubilee weekend?
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"Like lots of people, having that long stretch of time off has made me think I might go away for the weekend. But I said to my friends, 'If we do go away, I'm taking an extra suitcase.' I want to bring all the bunting, a bottle of Dubonnet, everything, so that wherever we are in the world, we can salute our Queen because she is a very important lady."
You and the Queen both share a love of Dubonnet. Have you always been a fan?
"I was having a right laugh with my girlfriend. She's having a baby next month and I said, 'Darling, I've figured out the name.' And she said, 'Well, what is it?' And I said, 'Dubonnet. Your firstborn has to be called Dubonnet.' I think it would be the most fabulous first name!
"But actually, I had never, ever taken a sip of the stuff until six weeks ago when I was doing live broadcasts and we were talking about the Queen's Jubilee. One of the Queen's ex butlers handed me a glass of this unknown drink and on camera, I drank it. And I said, 'Oh, my God, it's the most delicious thing I've ever tasted.' It was really, really yummy."
Dubonnet aperitif wine, £10, Waitrose
What are your tips for throwing a Jubilee party fit for royalty?
"I am a hopeless cook! I can't cook anything. I'm so bad. So I would go to Partridge's where you can get their sausage rolls. I would go and get a rotisserie chicken from my local butcher, and I would get big slabs of white bread and just pop it in there. I would have lots of Dubonnet and lots of champagne. It would be a very fun soiree. Some of my best girlfriends are really domesticated and they make glorious cocktails and they cook fabulous food. It's just not me. But I'm telling you, my party would be the most fun."
What are your tips for dressing for an occasion?
"I've always said that I hope to be wearing similar clothes in ten years, 20 years… maybe after 20 years I'd have a bit of a rethink. But I think that dressing classically and elegantly is important. For party dressing, I think you've got to know your own shape. Look in the mirror and see what makes you happy. Buy a few key pieces that suit you well. And then the trend-driven things, buy cheap and donate them or sell them afterwards. That's what I do.
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"The word fast fashion is seen to be a very dirty term. However, not everyone can afford to go and spend £100 on a top. Or they don't have the time to go and sift through the bargain bucket at the charity shop, like lots of fashionistas who do have the time do.
"So I do think that as ghastly as fast fashion can be for our environment, I'm a strong believer that there is a place for it with certain people. I think we can be quite snobby about the way that people dress but not everyone has that luxury."
What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about you and your lifestyle?
"I'd like to think I'm pretty authentic. The problem with me is that I've been on people's periphery since I was 18, so I can't really get away with that much. They've seen me on the telly, I'm pretty open on Instagram.
"I think sometimes my accent can be quite misleading. A lot of people think that my parents pay for everything. My parents gave me the most wonderful, generous, glorious start to life and I was fortunate to have an immense number of opportunities because of two schools that I went to. But if I didn't work bloody hard and I didn't run with it, I wouldn't have been able to stay at those schools, and it would have been a very different life. I think people may look at me and say, 'She's been given everything on a platter.' But actually, I work bloody hard and I have done for a long time and I'm proud of that."
You have such a busy life, do you still manage to fit in dating?
"Of course, I live in central London! How could I not? I still have time for that. I hope that I slot everything in quite well. I'm not on any apps, they're not really my thing. I probably did it eight years ago. I don't need apps, I meet far too many people. But I do say to my girlfriends, apps increase your chances of meeting the right person. I'm quite for it, but I think people would look at my profile and think, 'Oh, that's a fake account' or 'That's Toff from the TV' and I don't want either of that."
Photography by David Venni
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