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Queen Elizabeth II Reportedly Hires Professional Makeup Artist Only Once Every Year for Recording of Her Yearly Christmas Speech

Junie Sihlangu
Nov 20, 2019
12:30 P.M.
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British Royal dressmaker Angela Kelly, 51, has released a new book called “The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.” In the book, Kelly revealed never-before-known facts about Queen Elizabeth II.


One of the facts that the dressmaker shared was that the 93-year-old monarch usually does her own makeup. However, every year there is one occasion when the Queen hires a professional makeup artist.

When she’s going to record her yearly Christmas speech, the Royal elicits help. Kelly revealed that the Queen arranges for Marilyn Widdess to be present for the day of filming.


Queen Elizabeth II at the Braemar Highland Games on September 07, 2019, in Scotland | Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images


In the book, Kelly wrote:

“You might be surprised to know that this is the only occasion throughout the year when Her Majesty does not do her own makeup.”

Widdess is a longtime employee of the BBC. She was trained at their in-house make-up department in 1973.

The occasion also happens to be one of the rare times that someone else picks the Queen’s outfit. The Royal allegedly chooses a selection of looks that might work for the shoot.


Kelly shared in her book that the monarch then leaves it up to the production team to have the final. They decide the outfit based on what colors and patterns work on camera.

The Queen allegedly said: “I trust the television crews and we work brilliantly as a team.” When the Royal is happy with what’s chosen, then “she’s satisfied.”


Queen Elizabeth II at the annual Remembrance Sunday memorial at The Cenotaph on November 10, 2019, in London, England | Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images


Kelly has been working for the Queen since 1994. The senior dressmaker also revealed details about her job like how she takes measures each year to stop Royal insiders from cheating when they bet on what the Queen will wear to the Royal Ascot.

Kelly shared how every morning of the event four or five hats that the Queen has previously worn are placed on a table in the workroom at Windsor Castle. The hats are placed to stop anyone from placing a bet from an unfair advantage on what color the Queen will wear.


In her book, the dressmaker explained:

“This will stop anyone catching sight of the hat Her Majesty actually intends to wear and, with inside knowledge, betting a vast amount of money on the correct colour of the Queen’s hat for opening day at Royal Ascot. This is cheating and unfair on everyone else.”

The Royal Ascot runs for five days every summer.


Queen Elizabeth II at a Christmas lunch on December 11, 2018, in London, England | Photo: Max Mumby/Getty Images


Last week, another passage was revealed in Kelly’s book. It confirmed how much the Queen loves bargains. The dressmaker shared how she once almost missed a flight home because of a fabric sale in Singapore.

Kelly wrote:

“A few years ago, after Her Majesty’s Ladies-in-Waiting and I had collected our parcels of silk, I went to make the payment and the stall owners advised me that I could claim tax back on the purchase. The Queen is always keen to keep costs down, so off I went in search of someone who could help.”


However, a few minutes later when Kelly was getting the tax back someone from the staff informed her that she had to run back to the plane. The employee was told that the plane was leaving soon.

 Kelly ran all the way back and recalled:

“I was so thrilled, I shouted over the plane’s engines a phrase I am sure the queen does not hear very often: ‘I’ve got your tax back!’ The look on the queen’s face was priceless as I handed her the tax refund.”


According to The Telegraph, ‘The Queen’s Speech’ is actually called ‘Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech,’ instead of the name people generally use. The first Christmas address was 251 words long.

However, the Queen’s current speeches usually average around 656 words. In 1936 and 1938, there was no annual address as the tradition had not yet been established.