Queen Elizabeth's Designer Angela Kelly Reveals What It's Like to Dress the Royal

A new book celebrates the fashion of Queen Elizabeth as she marks her 60th year on the throne

Photo: Getty, Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

Queen Elizabeth set the tone for the London Summer Olympics when she appeared to jump out of a helicopter during the Games’ Opening Ceremony.

With everyone – including her seamstress – kept in the dark about her two identical gowns – one for the Queen and one for her brave stunt double – the story behind the Queen’s outfit for that unforgettable moment is finally being revealed.

In the book Dressing The Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe, which designer Angela Kelly – personal assistant, adviser and curator to Queen Elizabeth II – has penned to mark the Queen’s dresses in her 60th year on the throne, readers get a glimpse of what it’s like to dress the royal.

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Kelly, who has been the mainstay of the Queen’s clothing for nearly two decades, worked closely with the director of the Olympics Opening Ceremony, Danny Boyle, and was one of the few people who knew of the filmed skit with James Bond star Daniel Craig.

“The Buckingham Palace dressmakers worked quietly for months, never having both dresses out of storage at the same time,” she writes. “Even they didn’t know why two dresses were required for the same event.”

The peach-colored crystal and lace gown was designed with a pleated skirt so that it would stand out both as the Queen left the palace as well as on the stunt double who jumped from the helicopter, Kelly says.

Taking readers through the lengthy design process for each outfit, Kelly says the Queen’s dressers spent two years planning for the main celebrations of the Jubilee.

A photograph in the book shows a dozen umbrellas with different colored handles so they can match the Queen’s various ensembles. Fun fact: the umbrellas are always transparent so well wishers can see the Queen as she walks – something she did a lot of in this Diamond Jubilee year.

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