Alicia Healey

Alicia Healey is a former royal lady’s maid.

Owen Matthews, Cindy Yu and Alicia Healey

19 min listen

This week on Spectator Out Loud, Owen Matthews evaluates Russia’s ultra-nationalist threat (00:55), Cindy Yu reviews Perhat Tarsun’s The Backstreets (12:36) and ex-royal ladies maid Alicia Healey tells us why a handbag was the Queen’s secret weapon (15:22). Produced and presented by Oscar Edmondson.

The Queen’s handbag was her secret weapon

In this period of national mourning, it may seem frivolous to comment on the late Queen’s handbag. After seven decades of selfless service to the nation, fashion is but a footnote to Her Majesty’s glorious reign. And yet her style is something that helped to create the powerful majestic image of Queen Elizabeth II, and

Why the Queen loved Balmoral

Balmoral, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away yesterday afternoon, was one of her favourite places to be. Queen Elizabeth inherited Queen Victoria’s love of the castle, and its surrounding estate, spending up to two months at her Highland retreat every summer throughout her long reign, with childhood visits before that.  I had the good fortune of

The art of the brooch

The recent unveiling of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first joint portrait drew attention to a special piece of jewellery pinned to Catherine’s emerald green dress – the Duchess of Cambridge brooch. The pearl and diamond pendant brooch, on loan to the Duchess for the portrait sitting, has been a royal family heirloom since

The art of choosing sunglasses

Only Princess Diana could carry off Wimbledon white-rimmed aviators with such style. Pictured in the Royal Box at The Championships in 1986, The Princess of Wales brought an edge to her natural elegance in these striking shades. White sunglasses scream summer so are a great addition to a holiday wardrobe, pairing well with colourful fabrics. 

What the Queen can teach us about timeless dressing

The Queen has spent more time than most deciding what to wear to work each day, having spent the last 70 years as monarch. As one of the most photographed women in the world, her dress sense has played a large role in defining her image as a timeless figure who rises above cultural trends and

A royal guide to festive dressing

The royals, like most families, had a very different Christmas last year due to Covid restrictions. Traditionally, multiple generations of the family gather at Sandringham House for the festivities. This year the Queen is expected to return to her Norfolk residence once again, to host her extended family for what will be a poignant Christmas

The return of the cape coat

One of my favourite off-duty pictures of HM the Queen is this photo taken at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1979. I love the look of HM’s long pink tweed cape worn with a matching silk headscarf and leather boots. A simple, understated country casual outfit but she still has an air of superwoman

Princess Diana and the art of diplomatic dressing

On 9 March 1981, a 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer, then fiancé of the future king, stepped out in a black strapless taffeta gown by David and Elizabeth Emanuel for her first official engagement with Prince Charles – a Gala charity concert at Goldsmith’s Hall, marking the beginning of her royal life and setting the stage

How to choose a summer hat

After a dreary May filled with biblical proportions of rain, I’m relieved to be putting my umbrella away for a while and reaching for a summer hat instead. The classic Panama straw hat is a timeless and versatile summer accessory that looks good with almost any summer outfit, casual or smart. From garden parties to

The art of packing

I have a recurring dream where a taxi is waiting outside to take me to the airport and my suitcase is empty. I’m not sure what a dream psychologist would make of this, but for someone who has 15 years’ experience in packing other people’s suitcases for work, this kind of dream is the stuff

The day I danced with the Duke of Edinburgh

I started working for the royal family in a temporary role at Balmoral Castle, Her Majesty the Queen’s residence in the Highlands, in 2006. I spotted an advert on my university careers website and thought it might be a good summer stop-gap job until I found something more permanent. I must have made a good