Her Majesty The Queen often spent her weekends at Windsor Castle, where staff have long grown accustomed to hearing her say she “goes out a bit”.
The phrase was royal shorthand, meaning the monarch was rushing for a cup of Darjeeling and a chat at the nearby house of grace and favor from Angela Kelly, a woman who officially held the rather grand title of personal assistant, advisor and curator. to the Queen (jewellery, badges and wardrobe).
In private, however, 69-year-old divorcee Ms Kelly is much more than that – as illustrated by the Queen’s private visits to her comfortable home in the grounds adjoining Windsor Castle.
Little is known about the woman who served the queen for so long.
Married and divorced three times, she has three children whom she left to raise by their father, Frank Wylie, her first husband.
She married the storekeeper in 1971, a month after the birth of her son Frank. A year later, she gave birth to Paul, and then to daughter Michelle.
But by the early 1980s the marriage was over and then Mrs Wylie went to Germany without her children – virtually unknown at the time – to work in the British Army catering service.
A brief marriage to a German later ended in divorce before she met husband number three, Irish guard Jim Kelly, in 1989.
They married in 1992, after returning to England, but separated three years later.
It seems her dedication to work – at the time she was working for the Queen and spending weeks away from home on official visits – helped pay the union because husband and wife were seeing each other rarely.
“What it lacks in education it makes up for in ambition,” Mr Kelly told the Mail in 2014.
“She left school as a young girl and never had any formal training, but rose to the top of her profession. She always wanted to work for the Queen and sacrificed a lot to do so.
Despite their very different backgrounds, not to mention their religious beliefs, the daughter of Liverpool’s Roman Catholic crane operator and Queen Elizabeth II have spent the past 20 years forging a surprisingly unique mistress-servant relationship.
Now his influence extends to younger members of the royal family. Prince George was christened in a beautiful, long dress made by Ms Kelly, who learned sewing from her mother and aunt.
It was a replica of the original Honiton lace and white satin christening dress designed for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1841, which has since been worn by almost every member of the Royal Family but has now become too delicate use.
Ms Kelly is held in such high regard that she even offered advice to the Duchess of Cambridge, suggesting she follow the Queen’s lead and have weights sewn into her royal hemlines to prevent them from being lifted by the wind.
She is known throughout the royal household as the AK47.
In 2019, the Queen gave her ‘guardian’ her blessing to share the details of their relationship in a book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.
“The Queen was with me every step of the way,” Ms Kelly said of the project, avoiding any growls of concern under the stairs from her fellow royal servants who are expected to keep silent until their graves.