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Exclusive: Queen Elizabeth II's personal glove maker pays tribute to Her Majesty

Cornelia James made the Queen's gloves for 75 years

the queen
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
September 15, 2022
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Queen Elizabeth II's personal glove makers Cornelia James have paid tribute to the late monarch as the nation prepares for her funeral on Monday 19 September.

MORE: The Queen's life in pictures: Remembering the best moments from her 70-year reign

Genevieve James, daughter of the late Cornelia James, spoke exclusively to HELLO! about working for Her Majesty and how she will best remember the Queen. The fashion brand first made Elizabeth II's iconic gloves in the 1940s following her wedding to Prince Philip and continued to work with the monarch right up until her death.

WATCH: Meet the late Queen's glove maker

Speaking to HELLO! from her workshop in East Sussex, Genevieve told us: "I found out the news of the Queen's passing whilst on holiday in Greece on a boat. I was in touch with a lady at home who helps me, who said that the Queen wasn't very well and that doctors had been called.

"Then about an hour later she phoned and told me the Queen had died. It was so strange – two days before the Prime Minister was sworn in and then suddenly she was gone. I feel quite sad and humbled.

"The staff in our workshop were quite subdued at the news of the Queen's death when I returned. It's a strange time."

the queen gloves

Remembering the monarch, Genevieve said: "I always think, we work with many different people - our gloves are worn by Rihanna, by Madonna, by all sorts of celebrities - but the Queen is the one that really counts for me. She was special. It was quite an honour.

"The Queen first began wearing our gloves in the 1940s when my mother started the business, and she stayed loyal to the brand ever since."

MORE: The Queen's glove maker reveals why her Majesty always wears the chic accessory

genevieve james

Genevieve James of Cornelia James glove makers

"I always remember that when my mother was dying (my mother had cancer and was in a hospice), the palace rang up and said the Queen wanted to know how my mother was.

"I thought that was really quite thoughtful. We were just making her gloves really, but she wanted to know how my mother was doing. She cared about people. She had no airs or graces; she was very humble."

cornelia james

Genevieve's late mother Cornelia

Genevieve met the late monarch at a Christmas party held at Buckingham Palace, where royal warrant holders had set up stalls to sell their goods to palace staff.

"The Queen approached my stand and I bowed and said, 'Your Majesty, I'm your glove maker'. She replied, 'I know exactly who you are', and it was the best moment of my life.

"I was nothing to her, but she made me feel like I was quite important. That's the sort of knack that she had. She was so much a people's person. When you talked to her, she made you feel like you were the only that counted. I don't think there will ever be a Queen like her again. I think we all thought that she was going to live forever. She was on the ball till the end."


young queen

The Queen in 1954

How will Genevieve best remember Her Majesty? 

"I will best remember the Queen sitting in a black Daimler with her white-gloved hand waving out the window," she says.

"I felt immensely proud when I saw her wearing our gloves. I remember when she went to London Fashion Week and sat next to American Vogue Editor Anna Wintour – two Queens together – and all the pictures were about the Queen. She was above everybody. She wasn't trendy, not anything, simply the Queen."

Genevieve says of the Queen's huge glove collection: "Over the years she must have had 40 or 50 pairs of our gloves and she'd always have a spare pair in her handbag. Sometimes the Queen would wear her older gloves; she'd send some back for repairs on occasion."

We wonder what Genevieve's mother Cornelia would say about the Queen's life and passing.

She tells us: "My mother would have said that she was immensely proud to have served the Queen. My mother was a very modest lady. When she got given a Royal Warrant in 1979, she was speechless. I think she would be so sad at the Queen's death, but also so honoured to have been a very small part in the history of this wonderful woman."

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