Angela Kelly, Queen Elizabeth’s longtime dresser and right-hand woman, offers royal watchers a rare look behind the curtain in her new book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.
As others have claimed before her, Kelly writes that despite living in a palace and having her every need met by doting staffers, the Queen is actually a “very modest lady.” Even when it comes to her royal jewelry collection, the monarch is apparently unfussy: according to the Daily Mail, Kelly says that to keep her diamonds sparkling, a simple mixture of gin and water is all that’s necessary.
The Queen also loves a good deal, Kelly says. The dresser reveals she often shops for fabric in the “bargain bucket” to keep costs reasonable. Kelly recalled picking up some silk in Singapore, and realizing that she could get the tax back, as the Queen wasn’t a resident. She almost missed her flight home to go through the process, but it was worth it: the British monarch reportedly relished the experience. “The look on the Queen’s face was priceless as I handed her the tax refund,” Kelly writes.