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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, sharing the life of Queen Elizabeth’s official dressmaker, Sir Hardy Amies, From SOE Hero To Dressing The Queen by Lynda Rowland, details the agony of WWII and the relationship enjoyed with the most famous woman on the planet.

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From SOE Hero To Dressing The Queen – The Amazing Life Of Sir Hardy Amies by Lynda Rowland on The Table Read Magazine
From SOE Hero To Dressing The Queen – The Amazing Life Of Sir Hardy Amies by Lynda Rowland

From SOE Hero To Dressing The Queen

Impressing both readers and those who know her subject, first-time author Lynda Rowland released new biography, From SOE Hero To Dressing The Queen – The Amazing Life Of Sir Hardy Amies.

Sir Hardy Amies was one of Britain’s foremost fashion designers, predominantly known as the man who dressed Queen Elizabeth for half a century. However, he led a fascinating double life as a couturier and an intelligence officer during the Second World War. His work for the Belgian resistance effort, as part of the Special Operations Executive, was so significant that he was awarded L’Ordre de la Couronne, or Order of the Crown, by the Belgian Government in 1948.

Not only did Sir Hardy conduct these operations, he simultaneously developed his burgeoning fashion business through the British Board of Trade’s drive to promote UK manufacturing throughout the conflict.

He was a man who at once epitomised and challenged the reality of being homosexual in an era when society was deeply unaccepting. He was thrust into what was an overtly macho and potentially hostile environment and, against that backdrop, made a valuable and courageous contribution to the war effort. Born into what we would consider a lower middle-class family, he was handsome, cultured and gregarious and effortlessly traversed the post-war world of high society, launching his haute couture house to great acclaim, gaining clients ranging from film stars to royalty.

His work for Queen Elizabeth II saw him awarded the CVO in 1977 and this was elevated to the KCVO, Knight Commander of the Victorian Order in 1989. Her Majesty’s warmth of feeling towards Sir Hardy is evident in the many hand-written thank-you letters she sent him over the course of their long working relationship.

Sir Hardy, who lived until the age of 93, could have been dismissed as a lightweight character from the frivolous world of fashion. However, despite a not-particularly extensive formal education, he was highly intelligent, extremely well-travelled and spoke three languages, and his story encapsulates the extraordinary cultural and societal turbulence of the twentieth century.

Eloquent, captivating and ensuring the legacy of this one of a kind and far from frivolous English gent is never forgotten, Lynda Rowland’s book honours the memory of Sir Hardy Amies well.

Lynda Rowland

I was lucky enough to undertake interviews with people who worked with Sir Hardy, and those who were close friends with him, as well as have access to photographs from his personal collection.

My hope is that my book reveals all sides of Sir Hardy, from making his mark in the world of fashion and the relationship between the Queen and her personal designers and dressers; to his intensely private views of his time in the SOE and his agony over the destruction and loss of life which resulted from many of its operations.

In November we were lucky enough to hold the book launch in the former premises of Sir Hardy Amies’ couture house in Savile Row, London. It was attended by members of Sir Hardy’s staff, some of his friends and several journalists and writers, making it the most memorable of evenings and bringing together so many cherished memories.

-Lynda Rowland
Lynda Rowland on The Table Read Magazine
Lynda Rowland

Lynda Rowland is a freelance writer and first-time author at the age of 65. She began her career as a journalist on local newspapers in Southwest London, sub-editing and producing features on women’s issues, cultural events, theatre, film and television. Her work has recently been focused on vintage and sustainable fashion, and she also runs a monthly poetry group.

Lynda’s interest in history, literature, art, crafts, and twentieth-century popular culture is represented in her growing collection of fashion books and memorabilia, vintage clothing and collectable Barbie Dolls.

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