A new book has been published in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee year. This unique publication explores how Her Majesty The Queen has stood out from the crowd on her many engagements and maintained her unfailing sense of style. Written by Angela Kelly, Personal Assistant, Adviser and Curator to Queen Elizabeth II, the book opens the door to the world of the Dressers’ Floor at Buckingham Palace and provides a first-hand account of the work of those directly responsible for The Queen’s wardrobe. The author tells the stories behind the outfits worn by Her Majesty for the many highlights of 2012, such as the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, the Diamond Jubilee Concert and the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Angela Kelly takes the reader through the entire design process, from initial sketches and fabric swatches to the choice of accessories to complement the finished outfit. The author explains how, once fabrics and design sketches are approved, a technical drawing is created from which the pattern is made. A prototype or toile is often used to work out the detail of a difficult design, before a fitting with Her Majesty takes place. Fittings, which may last half a day, involve work on four or five outfits, complete with hats. The next time The Queen will see the finished garments is a day or so before an engagement, when she tries them on. On the day itself, The Queen’s outfit is prepared with a choice of brooches, a handbag, gloves, headscarf and shoes. A precise record of the outfit worn to each engagement is kept in the Dressers’ wardrobe diaries.
The team of Dressers spent almost two years planning for the Central Weekend of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The white outfit worn by Her Majesty for the Thames River Pageant on 3 June was inspired by the jewelled, white costumes favoured by Elizabeth 1 and was designed to stand out against the deep reds of the Royal Barge, Spirit of Chartwell. For the Jubilee Concert on 4 June, The Queen’s shimmering golden dress echoed the colour of the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, around which the concert took place. Angela Kelly explains that the fabric itself made reference to The Queen’s long reign, as it was bought overseas in 1961. The author also tells the story of her team’s involvement in the behind-the-scenes planning of the James Bond sequence in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on 27 July, including the creation of two identical dresses.
Dressing The Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe by Angela Kelly Royal Collection Trust, November 2012