Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have taken after their grandmother-in-law, sometimes opting to do their own makeup rather than enlist a professional

By Stephanie Petit and Monique Jessen
November 18, 2019 05:30 PM
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Queen Elizabeth has a long list of titles…including beauty maven!

Royal dressmaker Angela Kelly‘s new book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe is full of never-before-known facts about the 93-year-old monarch, including that she usually does her own makeup.

However, there is one annual occasion when the Queen hires a professional makeup artist: the recording of her yearly Christmas speech. Kelly revealed that she arranges for Marilyn Widdess to be present for the day of filming.

“You might be surprised to know that this is the only occasion throughout the year when Her Majesty does not do her own makeup,” Kelly wrote.

Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas address
| Credit: REX/Shutterstock

According to Kelly, professional make-up artist Marilyn Widdess is called upon for the filming of the Christmas Day broadcast. Widdess is a longtime employee of the BBC, having trained at their in-house make-up department back in 1973. No doubt she will use some of the Queen’s go to beauty products which include brands such as Elizabeth Arden and Clarins, both of whom have Royal Warrants.

The festive occasion is also one of the rare times that someone else picks the Queen’s final outfit. After picking a selection of looks that might work, Kelly says she leaves it up to the production team to have the final say to make sure the colors and patterns work on camera. “I trust the television crews and we work brilliantly as a team.” If the Queen is happy with their choice, then “she’s satisfied” says the loyal staffer who has been working for the Queen since 1994.

Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: John Stillwell/POOL/AFP/Getty

While royal women often turn to professionals for their beauty routine, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have both taken after their grandmother-in-law on occasion.

Kate famously did her own wedding day look, with a little “makeup artistry assistance” from Bobbi Brown makeup artist Hannah Martin — and Brown herself approved!

“I wouldn’t have changed a thing about her makeup,” Brown said. “She looked beautiful, fresh and most importantly, happy.”

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

While Meghan’s natural wedding day look came with the help of longtime friend Daniel Martin, her friend previously told PEOPLE that the Duchess of Sussex is “very self-service” when it comes to her beauty routine.

“I was with her last month, and she was going on a public engagement. Harry and I were sitting with the dogs, and we were all chatty, and she’s painting her nails,” the friend explained. “Except for her wedding, she does all her own makeup. Dresses herself, styles herself.”

Meghan Markle
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“She’s gotten more comfortable doing her own makeup. She loves makeup and she’s good at it!” Martin also told PEOPLE. “She’s been doing her makeup herself. She’s not fussy — she’s just trying to get it on and get out the door.”