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Queen Elizabeth’s Longtime Dressmaker Reveals the Royal Loves a Good Bargain

Queen Elizabeth Royal Windsor Cup Polo Match June 23, 2019
Queen Elizabeth attends the Royal Windsor Cup polo match on June 23, 2019 in Windsor, England. Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Just because she’s a royal doesn’t mean she has a royal budget.

Queen Elizabeth’s dressmaker of 25 years, Angela Kelly, published a 304-page book titled The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe. While it’s obviously a must-have for your coffee table, it’s also so much more than that! The book’s full of never-before-seen photos of the queen and tidbits about her thriftiness that are all too relatable.

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In the new release, Kelly shares how she always looks in the “bargain basket” to find material for Queen Elizabeth’s next ensemble, which is “usually a vibrant fabric, given her fondness for bright colors.” Consider this the royal’s equivalent of taking a trip to a local thrift shop or consignment store.

In an excerpt from the book, shared with Hello Magazine, the 51-year-old dressmaker reveals she once almost missed a flight home in pursuit of a good deal on silk in Singapore. The queen is particularly fond of the Singaporean fabric, so they can’t visit the country without purchasing some for her next outfit.

“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,” Kelly explains in the book. “The Queen is always keen to keep costs down, so off I went in search of someone who could help.”

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She continues, “A few minutes later, as I was getting the tax back, another member of the royal staff rushed up to me in a panic, shouting that we had to go straight away as the plane was leaving right that second. Soon I was running across the tarmac, flying up the steps to the plane just in time. 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.”

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