Queen Elizabeth II gave her full blessing to Angela Kelly, her trusted confidant, to publish The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe in 2019. Now, Kelly's publisher has announced that an updated edition of the book in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee will be released in May.
In a press release, Harper Collins announced that the new material will cover the last two years, including the "royal household's isolation during lockdowns at Windsor Castle; Angela supporting the Queen in new ways, such as cutting and setting her hair; the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral; the first public engagements post lockdown; and a look ahead at the Jubilee celebrations in June."
During the pandemic, when the Queen moved from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, a small staff, including Kelly, was in her bubble. During the lockdown, the royal household staff was coined "HMS Bubble". As master of the household Tony Johnstone-Burt, a former Royal Navy Officer, wrote in a memo: "There are 22 royal household staff inside the bubble, and it struck me that our predicament is not dissimilar to my former life in the Royal Navy on a long overseas deployment. Indeed, the challenges that we are facing whether self-isolating alone at home, or with our close household and families, have parallels with being at sea away from home for many months, and having to deal with a sense of dislocation, anxiety and uncertainty."
"We are so proud to be Angela Kelly’s publishers. We wanted to commemorate the extraordinary occasion of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with this beautiful new edition, as well as bring the content of the book right up to date following on from the unprecedented events of the past two years," Katya Shipster, Harper Collins publishing director, said in a statement.
"It tells the story of the royal bubble as well as the lengths Angela and the royal household went to, to ensure the safety of our monarch," she added. "There is no better look at what goes on behind the pomp and circumstance than this wonderful book." The book will be released on 12 May in the UK, and is currently available to preorder.
Kelly is the first-ever member of the royal staff to have ever been given permission to write and release a book; her access to the Queen, and her ability to reveal that access, is unprecedented. Samantha Cohen, Her Majesty's former assistant private secretary, wrote that The Other Side of the Coin "gives a rare insight into the demands of the job of supporting the monarch, and we gain privileged insight into a successful working relationship, characterised by humour, creativity, hard work, and a mutual commitment to service and duty. Angela is a talented and inspiring woman, who has captured the highlights of her long career with the Queen for us all to share."
Kelly has worked with the Queen for more than 25 years, initially as Her Majesty’s senior dresser and then as a personal advisor. She now works as the curator and designer of the Queen's clothing, and the Queen's wardrobe and jewels feature extensively in The Other Side of the Coin.
Kelly has been called Queen Elizabeth's "gatekeeper" and she sees the Queen daily and also lives on the grounds of Windsor Castle. "I love the Queen and everything about her," Kelly told The Telegraph. "She has allowed me to become closer to her over the years. I would never overstep the mark and I remain in awe of the Queen."