From meetings to shooting lunches to cocktail parties, Queen Elizabeth has quite the busy schedule over the holidays, which involves numerous outfit changes.
“The Queen is just as busy as she would be in London, with more guests to entertain,” Angela Kelly, her longtime dresser, writes in her new book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and the Wardrobe. “There may be several outfit changes in one day — it could be as many as five or even up to seven.”
Following afternoon tea or a walk with her dogs at Sandringham (where the Queen traditionally stays over Christmas), the Queen, 93, will choose her look for the evening ahead. “I lay out sketches of evening dresses for the Queen to look through and choose what she would like to wear that evening and, occasionally, she may have to pick out a dress for a cocktail party,” writes Kelly.
In order to avoid any fashion faux pas with her guests and ladies-in-waiting, the Queen’s stylist shares the choice with the rest of the house in the most traditional of ways. “Once Her Majesty has chosen her dress for dinner, a handwritten notice is pinned up in the Dressers’ Corridor detailing what she will be wearing, so that the Queen’s ladies’ maids can select an appropriate dress for the lady they are looking after,” Kelly reveals among other secrets in her fascinating book.
Should a fashion clash occur, Kelly insists it would be not be an issue for the Queen. “When it comes to the royal family, it doesn’t matter if they wear the same color as the Queen because they are family. Other guests though, feel they shouldn’t be in the same color as Her Majesty, although the Queen would not mind if this did happen.”
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Dressing up for dinner has been a royal tradition since the Queen Mother was alive, and it’s one that her daughter happily still continues. “The Queen has followed her example,” says Kelly, who also points out that it’s during the evening when many of the Queen’s priceless jewels come out. “Imagine having such spectacular jewellery to wear and knowing the history behind each piece.”