Queen Elizabeth once confided in her longtime aide Angela Kelly that she had a "secret wish" to be photographed more informally

By Stephanie Petit
October 30, 2019 11:36 AM
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Queen Elizabeth is showing off her less formal side.

The 93-year-old monarch is all smiles in a newly released photo, in which she poses casually with her hands in her pockets. The undated picture — published by Hello! magazine to mark the release of royal dressmaker Angela Kelly’s new book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe — is a stark contrast to the Queen’s typically serious and formal portraits — and many believed it shouldn’t happen.

Queen Elizabeth once confided in Kelly, her longtime aide, that she had a “secret wish” to be photographed informally, rather than her usual painstakingly posed portraits. However, the Queen Mother and palace aides always advised against it.

But when Kelly was working on her first book, the dressmaker recalled the conversation and asked the monarch if she would model with her hands in her pockets.

“The Queen looked at me in amazement as I asked whether she knew the potential implications of the photographs,” Kelly said. “She didn’t take long to answer: yes, she would do it and, yes, she was sure.”

Credit: Barry Jeffery

Photographer Barry Jeffery was tasked with the job, but Queen Elizabeth cut him off when he started to explain how the shoot would work.

Queen Elizabeth portrait from 1953
| Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS

“Within moments, the Queen raised her hand respectfully and Barry immediately stopped talking,” Kelly wrote. ” ‘No Barry, this is how we’re going to do it,’ she said. ‘Just keep the camera rolling.’ And we were off.”

“Her Majesty took her position in front of the lens and started striking a series of poses, slipping her hands in and out of her pockets and placing them onto her hips, mimicking the stances of a professional model,” Kelly recalled, adding that she was a “natural.”

Angela Kelly

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However, the more candid photos, which show the Queen with a rare ear-to-ear smile, were not immediately released, following advice from members of the Royal Collection.

“Their opinion was that these more candid photographs would bring the monarchy down and therefore they were not suitable for the public eye,” she explained. “Why they thought that, I have no idea.”

Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Jack Hill - WPA Pool/Getty
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Twitter users were thrilled to see the Queen coolly posing with her hands in her pockets, with commenters calling her “relatable” and a “badass.”

“Even the Queen gets excited about dresses with pockets…,” wrote one Twitter user.