The Queen doesn’t stand on ceremony when it comes to cleaning her jewels – she looks no further than a bottle of her favourite booze.
Her Majesty’s longtime dressmaker and wing woman Angela Kelly has revealed the surprising royal hack in her new book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and the Wardrobe.
“A little gin and water come in handy to give the diamonds extra sparkle – just don’t tell the jeweler!” writes Kelly, whose tome is proving full of never-before-heard revelations about the Queen’s household.
“The Queen’s jeweller will give the stones a deep clean when necessary, so for me it’s just a matter of a quick polish and they’re sparkling once more.”
Another insider hint? “A drop of washing-up liquid and water will get rid of any hairspray stains,” Ms Kelly said in discussing preparations when getting the Queen ready for formal events.
The Liverpudlian docker’s daughter has worked for the monarch since 1994 and her full title is Personal Advisor and Curator (The Queen’s Jewellery, Insignias and Wardrobe) and In-House Designer.
She is not only responsible for the care of the Queen’s clothes and jewels but is her stylist and, it turns out, footwear stunt double.
“A flunky wears in Her Majesty’s shoes to ensure that they are comfortable and that she is always good to go,” she wrote.
”And yes, I am that flunky.”
The Queen has worn handmade shoes by Anello & Davide of Kensington for more than 50 years. She has them in multiple colours and styles, but “no time to wear them in,” Ms Kelly wrote.
So she takes the fall with blisters: “As we share the same shoe size it makes the most sense this way.”
The book was penned with the full approval of the Queen, who in 2018 stripped luxury lingerie designer Rigby & Peller of its royal warrant when it revealed details about fittings.
Among other snippets Ms Kelly has revealed are that she used Yorkshire tea to dye the replica royal christening gown worn by the Cambridge children and Meghan and Harry’s son Archie, and that she’s a DIY beauty maven.
Yes, the Queen usually does her own makeup.
The only time she outsources her look is for the recording of her annual Christmas speech. Then she calls in professional makeup artist Marilyn Widdess, according to Ms Kelly.
The 93-year-old may have inspired her grandson’s wives Kate Middleton and Meghan.
Kate famously did her own wedding makeup when she wed Prince William in 2011, and Meghan is “very self-service” when it comes to her beauty routine, including manicures, a friend told People in February.
“Except for her wedding, she does all her own makeup. Dresses herself, styles herself,” the friend said.
Meanwhile, back at Buckingham Palace, the Queen shocked Ms Kelly when she confided that she had a longtime “secret wish” to be photographed informally.
The Queen Mother and palace aides weren’t keen, but during one formal portrait session Ms Kelly asked the monarch if she would pose with her hands in her pockets.
“She didn’t take long to answer. Yes, she would do it and, yes, she was sure.”
So keen was the Queen she stopped photographer Barry Jeffery with a “respectfully” raised hand when he tried to explain his vision for the shoot.
“‘No Barry, this is how we’re going to do it,’ she said. ‘Just keep the camera rolling.’ And we were off.”
“Her Majesty took her position in front of the lens and started striking a series of poses, slipping her hands in and out of her pockets and placing them onto her hips, mimicking the stances of a professional model,” Ms Kelly wrote.
She also let slip that the Queen herself insisted on having a speaking role in Danny Boyle’s acclaimed 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony personally choosing her line: “Good evening, Mr Bond.”
We are amused by it all.