It is a tradition for many families to watch the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day. But royal fans might not know about the amount of preparation that goes into getting Her Majesty ready for the speech and the rest of the Christmas proceedings.
Angela Kelly, who has worked as the Queen’s long-time dressmaker for 25 years, revealed in her book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, that the monarch can change her outfit as much as seven times on Christmas Day!
The Queen leaves for Sandringham to begin the Christmas celebrations following the annual lunch at Buckingham Palace for her family members. It might be a holiday for the Royal Family, but the Queen doesn’t rest, and her dressers are equally busy preparing her looks.
“The Queen is just as busy [at Sandringham] as she would be in London, with more guests to entertain,” writes Angela in her book. “There may be several outfit changes in one day — it could be as many as five or even up to seven.”
In the morning, the 93-year-old is typically in a more casual ensemble for walking the dogs and hosting tea. When it comes time for the evening festivities, Angela says she puts out sketches of the outfits and Her Majesty selects what she would like to wear, such as an evening gown or cocktail dress.
To ensure other guests don’t commit any fashion faux pas in association with the Queen’s outfit, Angela pins a note on the Dressers’ Corridor indicating the monarch’s choice of clothes for the evening. This ensures the Queen’s ladies’ maids can choose appropriate outfits for those to whom they are attending.
That said, Angela also reveals the Queen doesn’t mind if someone attends a party wearing the same colour as her, family or otherwise. Guests might consider it a no-no, but the Queen isn’t as bothered by it, People reports.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas ensembles are planned by Angela approximately two months in advance. The dresser reflects on the colours the monarch wore in previous years because she doesn’t want too much repetition.
“I like to make sure the Queen is wearing a festive colour so the well wishers can see her easily,” Angela explains in her book.
In 2017, the Queen wore an orange outfit to Christmas church service. In 2018, she wore a dove grey coat with hot pink cording and a coordinating feathered hat.
Another fascinating tidbit has to do with the Queen’s beauty routine. In her book, Angela divulged the monarch does her own makeup almost every day! The recording of her Christmas speech is the one occasion each year when she hires a professional makeup artist.
“You might be surprised to know that this is the only occasion throughout the year when Her Majesty does not do her own makeup,” Angela reveals in her book. The Queen hires makeup artist Marilyn Widdess for the day of filming.
When it comes to deciding on the outfit for the Queen’s pre-recorded Christmas speech, Angela inquires about all the details of the room, including the decorations and furniture, and she consults the production team.
“Firstly, I ask what colours and decorations they’re planning to use for the scene and they’ll give me a detailed description, including which furniture will be featured and how the tree will be decorated,” Angela pens in her book, according to Marie Claire UK. “I then pick out a selection of outfits for the Queen based on the colours chosen for the setting.”
“Ultimately, I leave it up to the production team to decide on the final outfit as the camera crews and producers know what will work and what won’t,” she continues.
Red and green may be the most traditional Christmas colours, but royal fans likely won’t see the Queen wearing them when she presents her Christmas speech. This is because the monarch could potentially fade into the background if she wore green, and red can be tricky to capture on camera.