On Tuesday, February 20, Queen Elizabeth made her London Fashion Week debut in the front row at the Richard Quinn show. She was there to present the designer with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II award. The queen was accompanied by her longtime personal assistant, Angela Kelly, who is the advisor and curator for the queen (and also handles her jewelry, insignias, and wardrobe). Kelly has become something of a right-hand woman to the monarch in recent years.
As she introduced the queen to the stage 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.”
First employed in 1993, Kelly rose through the ranks of the royal household to be the queen’s first personal assistant. Her job duties include working with Queen Elizabeth on the clothes she wears and advising her on protocol. It might be due to Kelly’s advice that the queen wears bright colors — supposedly so that the queen is easily spotted in a crowd — and that she is never wrong when it comes to diplomatic dressing. Kelly’s talent for dress-making has also come in handy, considering she’s created numerous outfits for the monarch (including Wednesday’s blue suit). She even restored Queen Victoria’s christening gown when the original became too delicate to use. Kelly is also a good problem solver — she reportedly told Kate Middleton to wear weights in her dress when she suffered a wardrobe malfunction due to the wind in Canada.
In 2007, Kelly spoke to the Telegraph about her close friendship with the queen. “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.” She added: “But we also have a lot of fun together. The queen has a wicked sense of humor and is a great mimic. She can do all accents — including mine.”
The pair are thought to have grown closer in 2002, after the deaths of the queen’s beloved younger sister Princess Margaret and her mother, the Queen Mother. But Kelly was quick to dismiss the idea that she’s a “replacement” during the same Telegraph interview. “I am not there to replace her mother and her sister,” Kelly said. “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.” There’s no denying the close bond that the two share, particularly as they sat side-by-side during London Fashion Week.
This post was written by Rebecca Cope. For more, check out our sister site Grazia.