Queen Elizabeth Always Does Her Own Makeup — Except for on This One Occasion Each Year

In a royal-yet-relatable move, Queen Elizabeth is totally self-sufficient when it comes to applying her makeup

Queen Elizabeth has a long list of titles … including beauty maven!

It turns out, the 95-year-old monarch usually does her own makeup — though there is one annual occasion when the Queen hires a professional: the recording of her yearly Christmas speech.

"You might be surprised to know that this is the only occasion throughout the year when Her Majesty does not do her own makeup," royal dressmaker Angela Kelly wrote in The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.

On the day she records the address — usually December 12, nearly two weeks before the speech is broadcast to millions of British households on December 25 — the Queen arranges for Marilyn Widdess to apply and touch up her makeup.


It seems most likely that Widdess — a longtime employee of the BBC who trained at their in-house make-up department back in 1973 — uses some of the Queen's go-to beauty products, which include brands such as Elizabeth Arden and Clarins, both of whom have Royal Warrants. (It varies from year to year whether the Queen wears glasses in her speech, but when she needs to stow them, she favors Launer's suede-lined leather cases.)

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, the Queen leaves it up to the production team to have the final say to make sure the colors and patterns work on camera. If the Queen is happy with their choice, then "she's satisfied," says Widdess, who has been working for the Queen since 1994.

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 the monarch 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
Kate Middleton at her 2011 royal wedding. 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," he explained in 2019. "Harry and I were sitting with the dogs, and we were all chatty, and she's painting her nails. Except for her wedding, she does all her own makeup. Dresses herself, styles herself."

Harry, Meghan
Prince Harry and 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."

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