Loved by the Queen… maybe not by the staff: Mystery over whereabouts of ‘docker’s daughter’ dresser Angela Kelly who was one of Her late Majesty’s closest aides but was absent from last week’s public mourning
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When members of the Royal Family gathered at Westminster Hall on Wednesday to see the Queen’s coffin arrive for the lying-in-state service, it was a solemn yet intimate affair.
A group of Palace staff who had been closest to Queen Elizabeth were also there, among them Paul Whybrew, 63, known as ‘Tall Paul’ on account of his 6ft 4ins frame.
Yet one trusted aide was noticeably absent: the Queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly.
The docker’s daughter from Liverpool started working at the Royal Household in 1994 as an Assistant Dresser, yet by the time of the Queen’s death, had risen to be indispensable.
Yet one trusted aide was noticeably absent: the Queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly (pictured centre right)
A confidante and friend of the Queen, the meticulously organised Ms Kelly kept track of which of the Monarch’s outfits and accessories were worn on each occasion. She was even entrusted with keeping track of the priceless jewels. It’s possible she prepared the clothes in which Her Majesty will be buried.
Which makes Ms Kelly’s non-appearance last week all the more perplexing.
While Tall Paul was loved by all, Ms Kelly seems to have divided opinion. One source said: ‘She was loved by the Queen but others weren’t quite so keen.’
Some brought her to mind when Prince Harry referred to the ‘people around’ the Queen in an interview for US network NBC in April, in which he spoke about visiting his grandmother at Windsor Castle.
A confidante and friend of the Queen, the meticulously organised Ms Kelly kept track of which of the Monarch’s outfits and accessories were worn on each occasion
‘I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her,’ he said. According to some insiders, he was referring to Angela Kelly.
It is thought the Queen’s dresser and keeper of the jewels was involved in the infamous Tiara-gate row in the run-up to Meghan and Harry’s wedding in 2018.
The saga, which reportedly centred on a row over which of the Queen’s tiaras Meghan might be allowed to borrow for her wedding day, allegedly included a conversation between Ms Kelly and Harry in which he is said to have shouted: ‘What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.’ Other members of the family, meanwhile, are thought to have been bemused by how close a bond the dresser forged with the Queen.
Ms Kelly has been rewarded for her years of service with not only a grace and favour home in Windsor, but also the Monarch’s extraordinary permission to secure a three-book publishing deal. The books could include a fly-on-the-wall account of her time at the heart of the Royal Family.
The docker’s daughter from Liverpool started working at the Royal Household in 1994 as an Assistant Dresser, yet by the time of the Queen’s death, had risen to be indispensable
Ms Kelly was responsible for successfully overhauling Her Majesty’s image and bringing it up to date. She was even seated with the Queen on the front row at London Fashion Week, with Vogue editor Anna Wintour sandwiched between them. Publicly at least, Ms Kelly is yet to say goodbye to Her Majesty, but that is expected to change tomorrow.
When the Queen’s coffin arrives at St George’s Chapel in Windsor for the Committal Service, it will be for a much more private service than the Westminster Abbey funeral which precedes it. The guest list of 800 will include staff members past and present who worked closely with the Queen.
Surely on this occasion, Angela Kelly will be where she has been for decades: in a front-row seat to watch history being made.
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