Royal hairdresser got medal ‘for keeping quiet’

Royal hairdresser Denise McAdam. Picture: contributed
Royal hairdresser Denise McAdam. Picture: contributed
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A HAIRDRESSER who styled royal family heads for more than 30 years says she was awarded a Royal Victorian Medal for keeping her mouth shut.

Denise McAdam, 55, from Penicuik, kept the secrets of Princesses Diana and Anne as well as the Duchess of York.

She said she could write “a brilliant book” based on private information from the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, but the role of royal hairdresser required discretion.

Ms McAdam is to be one of the judges in a new BBC reality show Hair, billed as a Great British Bake Off-style contest for hairdressers, which starts next week.

In an interview in the Radio Times, she described how her first brush with high society came in 1976, working at Green’s salon in Edinburgh. Princess Grace of Monaco was in town for the Festival and came to the salon.

Ms McAdam said she had no idea who her client was. “The next day my boss said, ‘Well, obviously the princess was happy because she’s coming back for a blow dry’. I said, ‘What? A princess? A superstar as big as Marilyn Monroe?’ After that I ended up dedicating most of my career to royal women and their hair.”

She said the Princess Royal was the most fearsome member of the Royal family.

“Princess Anne was the scary one, particularly when I was young.” Describing the hairstyle she gave to the Princess, she said: “It was a simple up-do, so I just used to go in, close my eyes and do it as quickly as possible.”

Ms McAdam described herself as “a good friend of the Duchess of Cambridge”. She said: “I think her hair is wonderful, maybe a little overdone at times, but she always looks lovely.”

Ms McAdam’s biggest moment was in 1986 when she styled the Duchess of York’s hair for her wedding to the Duke of York.

She said: “One day I was walking up Bond Street when this red apparition came running towards me. I said ‘Oh my God, you’re marrying him aren’t you?’ and she said ‘Yes and you’re doing the hair’. A royal wedding is always wonderful, but Sarah and I have had our fair share of disaster. She always wanted to put bloody flags in her hair.”

The duchess remains “a great friend”, she said.

“I’ve heard some very good stories from my clients over the years. I could write a brilliant book.

“There are things that William and Harry have told me. But you have to be discreet. That’s why the Queen awarded me the Royal Victorian Medal – it was for 35 years of keeping my mouth shut.

“When I got the award, I had a handwritten letter from every member of the Royal family. Even the Queen said, ‘Oh, that’s a very long time you’ve been working for us’. It was a great honour.”