Faceless and anonymous, they work tirelessly in support of the monarchy, always loyal, impeccably discreet, always there when needed, yet somehow almost invisible. But there is a member of the royal family whose special relationship with His Majesty transcends the normal rules of palace life. In a world where minions come and go and one false move can see you out of your ear, Queen Angela Kelly’s dresser looks practically untouchable – something Prince Harry discovered the hard way when he asked her to break the rules and produce the wedding of Meghan’s chosen teardrop tiara of a crown.
His 2018 Tiara-Gate confrontation with Mrs. Kelly made headlines again this week after Harry and Meghan biographer Omid Scobie claimed that Harry had phoned his grandmother and asked him, “I don’t know what the hell. it’s happening. This woman needs to do this job for my future wife. “
Despite the fact that the Queen supported her dresser, it is said, and not her grandson, Mrs. Kelly would be displeased to have been drawn into the controversy over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
A royal source said yesterday: “The sad thing is Angela is not allowed to give her side of the story. There are all these rumors, but the Angela I know is not someone who would do anything to upset anyone in the royal family. She. Loyalty must first and foremost be with the monarch. I’m sure she is really upset to be at the center of what is being said.
Of course, as royal prince and sixth in line to the throne, the Duke of Sussex could have been forgiven for thinking that his will would prevail over a mere servant, but those who know Mrs Kelly best would have told him to spare the breath.
It may seem to outsiders that this liverpudlian daughter, divorced and born in a 62-year-old council house, of a truck driver is an unlikely confidant to the monarch, but it is her total reluctance to bend the rules to which she now owes her position. .
Meghan Markle is at the altar during her wedding
She and the Queen first crossed paths by chance 28 years ago, when she was the governess of the British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Christopher Mallaby. When the queen and her entourage came for a royal visit, Mrs. Kelly was in charge of ensuring the smooth running of the family.
Before leaving, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh requested to meet with the staff who had helped ensure their visit was a success. But when Her Majesty stopped to talk to Ms. Kelly and politely asked her who was expecting the next team at the embassy, she was faced with almost unprecedented stonewalling.
“I replied that the information was confidential,” recalls Angela of the 1992 meeting with the monarch. “The Duke asked, slightly incredulous:” Can you tell Her Majesty the Queen? “Once again, I explained that I could not divulge the information since I had signed the law on official secrets.”
The housekeeper apologized – she even offered to return a photo of the royal couple, which all the staff had received as a memento of their stay – but inexorable.
At the end of that brief and embarrassing audience, he told the Queen: “I will remember him for the rest of my life.”
The queen replied: “Angela, me too.”
Angela Kelly with the Queen
And His Majesty was as good as his word. Just a few weeks later, the housekeeper was contacted by the royal dressmaker, asking her if she would be interested in a job as her assistant. The offer had come following a special request from the Queen. In the years that followed, she became the Queen’s maid, stylist, curator and personal assistant, as well as her partner, confidant and occasionally her tame Rottweiler. She is known as the Queen’s “keeper” or, less flattering as the AK-47 by some peers – a play on her initials and the firepower of the Soviet-era assault rifle.
Their relationship was again in the spotlight recently after the publication of Harry and Meghan’s unofficial biography, Finding Freedom, apparently sanctioned by the California-based Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Ms. Kelly, who is now also in charge of the Queen’s jewelry safe, has been accused of deliberately ignoring phone calls from Meghan who wanted to try on a certain tiara with her hairdresser. Buckingham Palace aides replied that since Mrs. Kelly was in Windsor with the Queen, she could not go to Buckingham Palace on such short notice. The book states that Harry saw something more insidious.
“Harry didn’t think Angela was really unavailable,” write authors Scobie and Carolyn Durand. “Instead he thought she was purposely ignoring Meghan. A senior palace aide insisted that Harry was simply saying, ‘hypersensitive when he accused Angela of trying to make things difficult for his fiancée.’
Such reports of an angry phone call to the Queen this week were strongly denied by Harry. But whatever happened, it clearly did nothing to change the surprising closeness between the queen and Mrs. Kelly, who was granted the title of lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in 2012 for “distinguished personal service to the sovereign.”
The two share a love of stargazing, the countryside and small talk. The Queen likes to walk into her dresser for a giggle and gossip while in Windsor, where Ms. Kelly has a home of grace and favor.
His Majesty, a talented mimic, apparently makes a good impression of his aide’s Liverpool accent.
While closing, the dresser has remained where it was for nearly 30 years – alongside the queen, making sure she always looks her best.
She is the only royal servant who has been granted permission to write not just one but two books about her life with royalty and has already started her third. The first was only about the queen’s dresses, but eyebrows were raised upon the release of her second, The Other Side of The Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, last year. The irony of being accused by Harry of being part of the Palace establishment probably isn’t lost in the woman who had to overcome a tremendous prejudice when she started working there.
She is the first to admit that she struggled to adapt. While divorcees were once banished from the royal precincts of Ascot, Ms. Kelly has three marriages behind her.
Her first husband was shopkeeper Frank Wylie whom she married in 1971, a month after the birth of her son Frank. A year later she gave birth to Paul and then daughter Michelle.
By the early 1980s their newsstand business and their marriage had both ended and she found a restaurant job with the army, leaving her husband to raise the children (although she saw them regularly). A brief marriage to a German followed and, in 1989, she met her husband number three, Irish guard Jim Kelly.
They married in 1992, just before she started working for the queen, but they separated three years later. Jim later said of the woman who still bears her name: “What she lacks in education she makes up for in her ambition. She dropped out of school as a girl and never had any formal training, but she made it to the top of her own. profession.
She has always wanted to work for the queen and has sacrificed a lot to do it. “But it wasn’t easy at all.” In those early years at Buckingham Palace, I remember feeling very aware that some people might have despised me. “Angela wrote in her second book:” After all, I was from Liverpool and had a Scouse accent, not to mention I was divorced. with three children “.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding
She considered taking elocution classes, but the queen kindly dissuaded her. She too has clashed with the gray men in suits that Harry likes to rail against. “In those days the Royal House was very male dominated. It had long been a place where traditions were upheld and routines followed. On one occasion, I was told that only after 12 years as a staff member I would be was allowed to have an opinion. “
Indeed, it appears to be Ms. Kelly’s refusal to curb her views that the Queen values most. He started asking her to attend meetings with stylists. While the monarch hated to offend someone by saying she didn’t like something, her dresser had no such remorse.
Over the years she has begun to create many of the Queen’s dresses herself, together with high fashion designer Stewart Parvin.
“He has an almost instinctive talent for fixing the queen’s clothes,” says a Palace insider. “He pays immaculate attention to detail and always makes sure the queen is comfortable as well as elegant.”
Mrs. Kelly is now also in charge of the Queen’s jewelry safe
She even wears the Queen’s new shoes, as they are the same size. The two are said to have become particularly close when the Queen faced the loss of both her mother and Princess Margaret in 2002.
“We could be sisters,” the queen once told her. A family friend, Lady Anne Glenconner, also remarked that when the two are together “there is a lot of laughter”.
A Palace insider says she has a sense of meanness similar to that of the late Princess Margaret, which the queen badly misses. “I don’t know why the queen seems fond of me, because I don’t give her an easy life,” he said. “Years ago the Queen kindly invited me to listen to her conversations with her designers and express my opinion. Well, asking a Scouser to give an opinion is dangerous, so I told her clearly.”
But he has always had a hard time never getting over his position. She still calls the Queen “Your Majesty” and admits she is thrilled when she dresses the Queen in her ceremonial robes, while the monarch simply laughs.
“I hope the queen and I grow old together,” he said.
All in all, it seems unlikely that anything Prince Harry can say or do will prevent this from happening.