Who Is Angela Kelly, Queen Elizabeth's Personal Wardrobe Advisor?
Kelly is responsible for maintaining, curating, and designing the Queen's wardrobe.
BY MAGGIE MALONEYPUBLISHED:JUL 21, 2020
Last week, Princess Beatrice surprised royal watchers with an unconventional royal wedding dress: not a custom gown designed by a handpicked couturier, but a vintage one, borrowed from Queen Elizabeth's own closet—and remodeled and fitted, with the help of the Queen's dressmakers. One of those dressmakers, Angela Kelly, is well-known to royal fans in her own right. Kelly's formal title is Personal Advisor to Her Majesty (The Queen's Wardrobe), which means Kelly is the curator and designer of the Queen's clothing, but she is also a close confidant and friend to the Queen.
Here's what else to know about her. Before joining the royal household, Kelly was a housekeeper. In October 1992, Kelly was working as a housekeeper for the British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Christopher Mallaby, before she was hired by the royal household, The Telegrap reports The Queen and Prince Philip visited Mallaby's home during an official royal visit to Germany, and met Kelly by chance. Kelly mentioned that she was planning on returning to Britain, and the next year, she was offered a position as a dresser for the Queen. "I suppose the Queen must have liked me and decided I was trustworthy and discreet," Kelly said of her hiring. Three years after joining the Queen's household, she was promoted to Senior Dresser. Kelly later became Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser in 2002,Harpers Bazaar UK reports.
She comes from a "humble background." "I come from a humble background and I hope to stay humble," Kelly once said in an interview, according to the Daily Mail.Kelly was raised in a modest household in Liverpool, where her parents, Thomas and Teresa Bradley, worked as a crane driver and a nurse. Kelly was not formally trained in the fashion world, but her mother taught her how to sew and make clothes for her dolls. "What she lacks in education, she makes up for in her ambition," Kelly's ex-husband Jim Kelly told theDaily Mail. "She left school as a young girl and never had any formal training, but she has risen to the top of her profession. She has always wanted to work for the Queen and has sacrificed a lot to do so." Kelly has designed some of the Queen's most iconic looks. Including the pale yellow ensemble worn by the Queen to Will and Kate's royal wedding back in 2011.
Kelly started her own fashion label. The label is called Kelly & Pordum, which she founded with dressmaker Alison Pordum. "I design the clothes and Alison Pordum and our team make them,"Kelly told The Telegraph."It all started because we designed one or two things for the Queen which she liked, and one thing led to another."
She has three children. Kelly, who is divorced, has three adult children: two sons and a daughter. She is also a grandmother. In 2012, the Queen made Kelly a lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order. The Royal Victorian Orderis awarded by the Queen to honor and recognize people who have served the royal family. In 2012, Kelly was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order at Buckingham Palace. Kelly published Dressing The Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe, in celebration of the Queen's 2012 Diamond Jubilee. It gave readers an inside look at many of the Queen's most memorable outfits worn throughout her Jubilee year.
She followed it up in 2019 with The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, which revealed many a charming anecdote about the monarch and life inside Buckingham Palace—like that Her Majesty's diamonds are polished with gin and water, and that Kelly often shops in the "bargain bucket" to satisfy the Queen's love of a good deal.
She has a close friendship with the Queen.
Kelly is an essential part of the Queen's inner circle, and the two women have developed a friendship over the years. While Kelly still calls the Queen "Your Majesty," she is one of the few non-family members who is allowed to touch the Queen. Kelly has also been called the monarch's "gatekeeper" due to their close relationship. Kelly sees the Queen every day, frequently joins her on trips abroad, and lives on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the Daily Express reports.
"I love the Queen and everything about her,"Kelly once told The Telegraph."She has allowed me to become closer to her over the years. I would never overstep the mark and I remain in awe of the Queen."
Kelly maintains that the two have a surprisingly normal relationship. "We are two typical women. We discuss clothes, make-up, jewelry. We say, 'Would this piece of jewelry look nice with that outfit?" MAGGIE MALONEY Deputy Editor