Yesterday, the Queen made her London Fashion Week debut when she sat front row at the Richard Quinn show, ahead of presenting the designer with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II award. With her was long-time employee Angela Kelly, the Queen’s Personal Assistant, Advisor and Curator to Her Majesty the Queen (Jewellery, Insignias and Wardrobe), who has become something of a right-hand woman to the monarch in recent years.
Introducing the Queen to the stage to present the award yesterday, Kelly said: ‘Your Majesty, I know you do not wish to be known as a fashion icon, but from all of us in this room, we have the utmost respect for you and also for your hard work and diligence.’
Employed in 1993, Kelly has risen through the ranks of the royal household to be the Queen’s first ever personal assistant, working with her on the clothes she wears and advising her on protocol. It is perhaps due to Kelly that the Queen wears bright colours – supposedly to be easily spotted in a crowd – and that she has never put a step wrong when it comes to diplomatic dressing. Her talent for dress-making has also come in handy, creating numerous outfits for the monarch (including yesterday’s duck egg blue suit) and even re-fashioning Queen Victoria’s christening gown when the original became too delicate to use. She’s also a keen problem solver: she reportedly told Kate Middleton to wear weights in her dress when she suffered a wardrobe malfunction in windy Canada.
In 2007 she spoke to the Telegraph about their close friendship, saying: ‘I love the Queen and everything about her,’ she said. ‘I adore her - but then, so does everyone else. She is not 'my' Queen, she is everyone's and so I have to share her. Once she has chosen something to wear, I just want her to look good in it. I love seeing the faces of the public when they meet the Queen, and when she gives them that special smile. It makes me feel so proud of her. I do worry about her and care about her. But we also have a lot of fun together. The Queen has a wicked sense of humour and is a great mimic. She can do all accents - including mine.’
The pair are thought to have grown closer in 2002, following the deaths of the Queen’s beloved little sister Princess Margaret and her mother, the Queen Mother, although Kelly was quick to dismiss the idea during the same Telegraph interview, saying: ‘I am not there to replace her mother and her sister. If she wants to talk about matters of the heart, she speaks to her family. It's just a working relationship - but a close one.’ Yet there’s no denying the close bond that the two share, particularly as she chose her to accompany her to London Fashion Week yesterday.