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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 April, 2003, 07:33 GMT 08:33 UK
Wartime role of Queen's dressmaker
Sir Hardy Amies
Sir Hardy Amies designed dresses for the Queen for half a century
Details have emerged about the wartime activities of the Queen's dressmaker Sir Hardy Amies, who died last month aged 93.

A file released by the National Archives, formerly the Public Record Office, on Tuesday shows how he co-operated with Vogue magazine for an article about life in Brussels in the winter of 1944/5 while working as an intelligence officer for the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

But afterwards he worried about photographs which might appear in it, and another officer went to see the editor, a Miss Withers.

The officer wrote "I saw Miss Withers and told her I was a War Office friend and colleague of Lt Col Amies and that he had apparently become somewhat anxious about the probable publication in the Vogue of photographs of members of the Belgian resistance movement, photos taken by the woman correspondent of the Vogue when recently on a visit to Brussels."

He is far tougher both physically and mentally than his rather precious appearance would suggest.
SOE file
The officer added: "What seems extraordinary to me is that a serving officer should lend himself and his Secret Service background in the interests of his private affairs, to whit, one of England's chief dress designers employed by the House of Worth to a gaudy publicity stunt together with posed photographs.

"However, it is not for me to reason why, but no doubt the profile of Lt.Col Amies in the next issue of the Vogue will cause a flutter in many feminine hearts when they realise that their handsome couturier is, after all, the Scarlet Pimpernel of this war."

Sir Hardy Amies
Sir Hardy Amies died in March

Another comment on Sir Hardy in his file says he was "more of a soldier in performance than his looks" while another said he was "a little bit colourless, but does his work adequately".

Admirers of the charismatic dressmaker may recognise these remarks: "This officer has done very well on the course. He is far tougher both physically and mentally than his rather precious appearance would suggest."

Sir Hardy reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Belgium section of the SOE.

Queen's designer dies
05 Mar 03  |  UK
Obituary: Sir Hardy Amies
05 Mar 03  |  UK
In pictures: Sir Hardy Amies
05 Mar 03  |  Photo Gallery


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