Stylist knew ‘hairs’ to throne
Hairdresser got medal for keeping her ‘mouth shut’
As hairdresser to the Royal family, Denise McAdam was required to be the model of discretion.
As she puts it, she was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal by the Queen in 2010 “for 35 years of keeping my mouth shut.”
But with her royal gig over and a television career to promote, McAdam has decided it is time for a little gossip.
In a new interview, she describes Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as looking “a little overdone” and Princess Anne as the most fearsome member of the Royal family.
Meanwhile, she teases that she could write “a brilliant book” about private information she has been told by the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Speaking to Radio Times, McAdam said: “Princess Anne was the scary one, particularly when I was young.”
Referring to 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.”
McAdam, 55, described herself as “a good friend of the Duchess of Cambridge.”
However, she was qualified in her praise for the Duchess’s flowing locks. “I think her hair is wonderful, maybe a little overdone at times,” she said, adding: “But she always looks lovely.”
She went on: “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.”
McAdam has signed up for a new BBC show, Hair, which is pitched as a Great British Bake Off-style contest for hairdressers.
She had her first brush with high society in 1976 working at Green’s Salon in Edinburgh. Princess Grace of Monaco was in town to attend the Edinburgh Festival and came to the salon.
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.”
McAdam’s biggest moment came in 1986 when she styled the Duchess of York’s hair for her wedding to the Duke of York.
The duchess remains “a great friend” despite her fondness for “putting bloody flags in her hair.”
In her BBC series, McAdam is joined as a judge by David Beckham’s hair stylist, Alain Pichon.
A former royal hairdresser says the Duchess of Cambridge’s hair can be “a little overdone.”