Top secret dresses for meetings with James Bond, no hats after 6pm and jackets embroidered by indigenous north Americans are just some of the Queen's wardrobe wonders revealed in a new book.

Written by Angela Kelly, the Queen's personal assistant, adviser and curator, Dressing The Queen opens the door to the dressers' floor at Buckingham Palace and gives a first-hand account of working on the Queen's outfits in her Diamond Jubilee year.

Perhaps one of the Queen's most famous outfits, the crystal and lace peach cocktail dress she wore to the Olympics opening ceremony, was made twice under top secret conditions, the book revealed.

queen
The book features many interesting revelations about the Queen's choice of outfits


After months of planning with the curtain raiser's director, Danny Boyle, Ms Kelly and her team made two identical versions of the dress to give the illusion that it was actually the Queen, and not a stunt double, parachuting from a helicopter above the Olympic stadium alongside 007.

The Palace dressmakers worked quietly for months on the dress, never knowing why two were required for the Queen's opening of the London 2012 Games, according to the book.

Another notable outfit, for the Diamond Jubilee river pageant, was influenced by Queen Elizabeth I, and managed to offer the Queen some protection from the wet weather as she travelled down the River Thames on the Spirit of Chartwell.

In the book, Ms Kelly wrote: "We never imagined the weather would turn out so badly, but I am glad that we gave the Queen some protection from the wind and rain with the frill that ran round the coat's neckline and down its front, and the matching white cashmere pashima."

Another famous outfit, the gold dress the Queen donned for the Diamond Jubilee pop concert, was influenced by the golden figure of the Queen Victoria Memorial, around which the stage was constructed, according to the book.

Fittingly for a concert that featured a programme of British music from the six decades of the Queen's reign, the gown was bought in 1961.

The book, which features lavish colour photographs of Ms Kelly and her team, design sketches and coverage of some of this year's major events, also revealed that the Queen rarely wears a hat after 6pm.

Ms Kelly wrote: "After 6pm the Queen does not usually wear a hat but may wear a headpiece, and to the evening state banquets, a tiara."

For state occasions a tiara is always required, Ms Kelly said.

She wrote: "The Queen is very fond of the 'Girls of Great Britain and Ireland' tiara, which was given to her grandmother, Queen Mary, on her marriage in 1893."

The tiara forms a shadow which appears as girls holding hands - the girls of Great Britain and Ireland.

That was in turn given to the Queen as a wedding present and is shown in her portrait on some coins and banknotes.

Trays used to present the Queen's vast collection of jewellery features lace covers handsewn by Queen Mary, with her own "M" monogram stitched in.

Loading Slideshow...
  • The dressers' floor at Buckingham Palace

The book also revealed the Queen's diplomacy, as she chose to wear a predominantly green dress on her May 2011 visit to the Republic of Ireland, the country's traditional colour.

It was the first time a British monarch has visited the country.

Ms Kelly wrote: "As a sign of respect for Ireland and her long-held affection for the country, the Queen chose to wear a day outfit that was predominantly green in colour."

For the evening gown she was to wear to the state banquet in Ireland on 18 May 2011, the Queen was very specific in her guidance, according to Ms Kelly.

Her gown featured more than 2,000 silk shamrocks sewn on by hand and an Irish harp design, made of crystals, replaced the Royal Family Order normally worn on the Queen's left shoulder during state occasions.

The Queen is also open to more unusual suggestions, the book revealed.

During royal tour of Canada in 2010, she met people from the Mi'kmaq indigenous community. Known as "the People of the Dawn", they are famous for their intricate beading work.

Ms Kelly said she asked the community chiefs if the oldest generation of skilled women would like to embellish the Queen's yellow jacket for the occassion.

She wrote: "This was a very unusual suggestion, since the Queen's outfits are normally kept secret for maximum impact on the day, but I felt it was the right decision, as their knowledge of beading goes back hundreds of years.

"They took enormous pride in being asked to undertake this work," she said.

"It really made the outfit special and was a lovely gesture done in such a personal way that gave added meaning to the outfit."
Among the other titbits revealed in the book, Ms Kelly said her team occasionally weigh down the Queen's dresses to avoid embarrassment in blustery conditions.

She wrote: "The Queen undertakes a wide range of engagements, many of which take place in the open air, where a sudden breeze could cause embarrassment.

"If we think this is a possibility, we will very occasionally use weights, discreetly sewn into the seams of day dresses."

Elsewhere this week in Culture...

Loading Slideshow...
  • 3 - 9 December

    The Bodyguard (REVIEW): Whitney Houston's Talent Lives On <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/06/the-bodyguard-review_n_2250701.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    Men Who Stole £500k Henry Moore Sculpture 'The Sundial' To Sell For £46 To Be Sentenced <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/16/head-of-a-young-apostle-auction_n_2143102.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    Kraftwerk To Play Complete Studio Albums At Tate Modern <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/05/kraftwerk-to-play-complete-albums-tate-modern_n_2244155.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    2012's Best Light Art In Pictures <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/05/2012-best-light-art-in-pictures_n_2244115.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    Cultural Icon Of The Year 2012: Vote Now <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/04/cultural-icon-of-the-year-2012_n_2237555.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/16/head-of-a-young-apostle-auction_n_2143102.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    Jeff Goldblum On His World Of Dreams And Latest Wes Anderson Project <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/08/jeff-goldblum-old-vic_n_2262297.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    Elizabeth Price Wins The Turner Prize 2012 <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/03/elizabeth-price-turner-prize-winner-2012_n_2233334.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    Incredible Close-Up Snowflake Photography (PICTURES) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/06/snowflake-photography_n_2249606.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 3 - 9 December

    GDT European Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2012 (PICTURES) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/07/environment-wildlife-gdt-_n_2256146.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    CS Lewis Facts: 11 Things You Never Knew About The Narnia Author <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/29/cs-lewis-narnia-facts-_n_2209399.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-books">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    Yoko Ono's New Fashion Line Shows Bums, Raises Eyebrows <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/29/yoko-ono-fashion-_n_2210350.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    Pippa Middleton's Book Celebrate 'Is Terrible' Says Riders Author Jilly Cooper <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/04/pippa-middleton-book-celebrate-terrible-riders-author-jilly-cooper_n_2236482.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    Evening Standard Theatre Awards: Danny Boyle, Dame Judi Dench and Hattie Morahan Triumph <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/26/evening-standard-theatre-awards-2012_n_2190421.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-theatre">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    Tracey Emin Blog: Never Knew a Horse Could Be So Good for Your Soul <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/tracey-emin/tracey-emin-a-long-way-from-home_b_2192187.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    Making A Splash: Water Balloon Art Just Got A Make-Over <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/05/water-balloon-art-just-go_n_2243259.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    Frida Kahlo Clothing Exhibition Opens In Mexico City <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/27/frida-kahlo-clothing-exhibition_n_2197314.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    Photographer Brian David Stevens' 'Graffiti Portraits' Reveals People Behind The Tags (PICTURES) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/26/brian-david-stevens-graffiti-portraits_n_2190269.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-photography">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    Male Nudes Exhibition To Open At Wallace Collection (PICTURES) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/28/male-nudes-exhibition-wallace_n_2202479.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 November - 2 December

    William Blake's Mad Wisdom To Celebrate The Great Poet's Birthday <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/28/william-blake-quote_n_2202721.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 19 November - 25 November

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/16/head-of-a-young-apostle-auction_n_2143102.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 19 November - 25 November

  • 9 November - 16 November

    Photograph, Or Painting? <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/14/robin-eley-hyperrealistic-paintings_n_2127538.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    First Fashion Photographs Of Kate Moss, Aged 14, To Be Sold At Auction <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/12/kate-moss-first-fashion-shots_n_2116174.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    'Head Of A Young Apostle' By Raphael To Sell For £15m At Auction <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/16/head-of-a-young-apostle-auction_n_2143102.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    Street Artist Bambi Opens Solo Show In London <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/15/bambi-street-artist-solo-show_n_2136279.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    Death Exhibition Opens At Wellcome Collection <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/15/death-wellcome-collection_n_2135588.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    World Press Photo Contest Winners On Show At Southbank Centre <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/13/world-press-photo-contest-winners-2012_n_2122410.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    Dorothy Bohm Interview: 'I Remember Every Photograph I Take' <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/15/dorothy-bohm-interview_n_2137660.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    Urban Masters: Banksy, Shepard Fairey And Blek Le Rat Share Street Art Show In London <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/13/urban-masters-street-art-show_n_2121406.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    What Inspires Me: Judy Chicago <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/12/judy-chicago-interview_n_2117721.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 9 November - 16 November

    Where The Mangrove Grows (REVIEW): Joe Hammond's Heartbreaking Portrait Of Neglect <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/12/where-the-mangrove-grows_n_2118923.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    Sienna Miller Naked Portrait: Artist Jonathan Yeo Paints Pregnant Actress <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/06/sienna-miller-naked-portrait_n_2084975.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    What Inspires Me: Charlie Brooker <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/06/charlie-brooker-interview-2012-romney-books-black-mirror_n_2082614.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    Forests (REVIEW): Calixto Bieito Condenses The Spirit Of Shakespeare With Nudity And Violence <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/07/naked-shakespeare-forests-review_n_2087315.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    Andy Golub's Body Paint: Naked Wanderers And Surreal Human Murals <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/08/andy-golub-body-paint-art_n_2092618.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    Henry Moore's Draped Seated Woman Sold Off By Tower Hamlets Council To Meet Budget Cuts <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/08/henry-moore-sculpture-sold-london_n_2091431.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    How One Charity Is Tackling Complex Mental Health Problems Using The Simple Power Of Reading <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/05/reading-as-therapy-reader-organisation_n_2076568.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture"> READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    How Culture Is Changing The Face Of Belfast <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/08/belfast-culture-weekend-change_n_2091527.html?ref=topbar">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    Tiny Ripples Look Like Giant Tidal Waves In DebM's 'Waveart' (PICTURES) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/06/waveart-pictures_n_2084948.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    Obama Art: Paintings, Sculptures And Comics Inspired By President Barack Obama <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/06/obama-art_n_2081252.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 2 November - 9 November

    Spencer Tunick Marks Mexico's Day Of The Dead With Usual Battalion Of Nudes (PICTURES) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/06/spencer-tunick-marks-mexicos-day-of-the-dead-with-usual-battalion-of-nudes-pictures_n_2082180.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

  • 26 October - 2 November 2012

    'Jimmy Savile Is Innocent' Exhibition Under Fire For Sexualised Picture Of Young Girl <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/26/jimmy-savile-innocent-art-show_n_2021509.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture">READ FULL STORY</a>

Dressing The Queen, features over 250 colour illustrations is out now, priced at £24.95 in hardback.