Who are the heir-dressers? Meet the royal crimpers

Who are the heir-dressers? Meet the royal crimpers

December 17, 2023

Who are the HEIR-dressers? As a lock from Charles’s bonce goes up for sale, we meet the crimpers and colourists to the Crown who hear everything (and say nothing…)

  • Hair once gathered by Prince Charles’s barber is up for sale
  • Royal hairdressers can become minor celebrities in their own right 
  • Don’t miss our brilliant new podcast, The Crown: Fact or Fiction with Robert Hardman and Natasha Livingstone. Listen now on Spotify , Apple or wherever you get your podcasts

It’s one of the stranger lots of Royal memorabilia to be put on sale – a lock of the King Charles’s hair snipped when he was a schoolboy, plus the barber’s scissors that did the job.

They had once belonged to George Crisp, the Royal Family’s personal barber from 1929 to 1971 and are now being auctioned online.

Hair is a very serious matter, of course, as generations of royal know all-too-well – the women in particular.

And such is the level of skill and judgment involved that the professionals they trust  can become minor celebrities in their own right. 

A glossy haired Prince Charles on the eve of his 18th birthday in 1966. The portrait was taken in the Balmoral library

George Crisp

The late Mr Crisp first trimmed the hair and beard of Charles’s grandfather, George VI, but was kept on by Queen Elizabeth after her father’s death in 1952. 

During the 1960s, he regularly made the short walk from Trumper’s in Mayfair, the noted barbershop where he worked, to Buckingham Palace to attend to the young prince’s dark locks.

Prince Charles as a carefully coiffed 12-year-old. He is pictured leaving Euston Station by car after travelling overnight from Aberdeen with his parents

Trumpers of Curzon Street was first ‘discovered’ by George V. He has since been followed by George VI, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, the Duke of Kent and  the Duke’s heir the Earl of St Andrews, pictured here as a five-year-old

Paul Fraser, of Paul Fraser Collectibles, which is selling a number of Charles-related items including a Christmas card from the prince, told The Sun newspaper that: ‘No piece of Charles III memorabilia gets you closer to the real man than his hair.’

Ian Carmichael

The late Queen’s  loyal hairdresser of nearly 25 years, Ian Carmichael. The Scottish crimper has always kept schtum 

The Late Queen Elizabeth was adored by her hairdresser, who somehow created a perfectly symmetrical style. She is pictured in 2017 after a reception at The Army & Navy Club 

The late monarch had her hair washed at home via a stand-up attachment to a sink and before her death last year, had never had a blow dry, according to reports.

But such indiscretions never came from her fiercely loyal hairdresser of nearly 25 years, Ian Carmichael. 

The Scottish crimper kept schtum about how he created the Queen’s perfectly symmetrical style and whether they chatted about her holidays during appointments.

Visiting her at her homes around the UK twice a week, Mr Carmichael also accompanied Her Majesty on foreign visits to make sure she looked the part. 

Granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment in 2012, Mr Carmichael was then made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order in 2017. 

He called his most famous client ‘by far my favourite.’

Amanda Cook Tucker

Amanda Cook Tucker or ‘Mandy’ to her friends, has been the Princess of Wales’ hairdresser since 2012

Kate, attends a reception for British nationals in Bhutan with a glossy head of hair

 She’s been styling the most scrutinised royal head for more than a decade and was one of the very first people to meet Prince George following his birth in 2013.

Amanda Cook Tucker or ‘Mandy’ to her friends, has been the Princess of Wales’ hairdresser since 2012 when she accompanied Kate and the Prince of Wales to the Far East on a Diamond Jubilee tour. 

Described by sources as ‘indispensable’ after giving Kate heat-proof hair that defied the humid Asian weather, Ms Cook Tucker has been on hand every six to eight weeks ever since. 

Charging a reported £300 per day, she is said to be an ‘expert at the full glossy blow dries that hold’ that Kate loves. 

No stranger to Royal circles, the stylist has been cutting William and Harry’s hair since they were children.

George Northwood

George Northwood was part of Team Sussex when it landed in Sydney in 2018

Northwood, was king of the ‘done-undone’ style. He regularly teased the Duchess of Sussex’s tresses while she was a working royal. Meghan is pictured in Sydney 2018

It was the look that saw search terms on Pinterest rise by more than 1,000 per cent and inspired endless hair tutorials on YouTube.

The effortless ‘messy bun’ Meghan Markle wore for the evening do following her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry, was created by her friend, celebrity hairdresser George Northwood.

King of the ‘done-undone’ style, he regularly teased the Duchess of Sussex’s tresses while she was a working royal. Last year, he jetted out to the Netherlands to create at least five different styles for her over the course of the three-day Invictus Games event.

In 2014, Mr Northwood created Alexa Chung’s must-have ‘bedhead bob’, which caused an internet sensation and him to get a RSI in his thumbs from snipping 18 clients a day.

Joey Wheeler

Joey Wheeler, gave William a hair-do widely reported to have cost £180 during a visit to Kensington Palace

Prince William’s ‘buzz cut’ in 2018 completely transformed the royal’s image

As a teenager, his floppy blond fringe was a signature look.

But the following years brought teasing about a growing bald patch – first from his brother and then his wife, who in 2014, suggested an alpaca toupee was the perfect solution during a tour of Australia.

Prince William was persuaded to take action.

After receiving advice from Kate’s long-time hairdresser Richard Ward, William caused a sensation by appearing in 2018 with a number one buzzcut.

Mr Ward’s protege, Joey Wheeler, gave him the infamous do widely reported to have cost £180, during a visit to Kensington Palace,

Mr Wheeler has worked under Mr Ward for some 17 years and is understood to have used his specialised ‘scissor over comb’ freehand technique for the royal cut.

Richard Ward

Celebrity hairstylist, Richard Ward

Kate’s half up and half down was perfected by Richard Ward’s team including James Pryce

If there’s one man the Princess of Wales can rely on to deliver her signature BBBD (Big Bouncy Blow Dry), it’s Richard Ward. 

The London-based cutter has been styling Kate’s hair for 20 years and was instrumental in her demi-chignon look for 2011 wedding to Prince William. 

At the time, he revealed her one rule was that by the time she got to the end of the altar ‘her husband must recognise her.’ 

Ward, whose salon is in Chelsea, also counts Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, and sister, Pippa, as clients. 

Having royal connections has certainly been good for business. Before re-opening his salon during the pandemic, Ward revealed he had 4,000 pre-booking requests valued at £1m.

Denise McAdam

Denise McAdam has dealt with several members of the Royal Family and received  the Royal Victorian Medal

Ms McAdam styled the Duchess of York’s hair for her wedding to Prince Andrew in 1986

Before attempting Princess Anne’s famous beehive, Denise  was told not to look her in the eye

There aren’t many Royal heads Denise McAdam hasn’t worked on. 

In 2010, she received the Royal Victorian Medal and a handwritten note of thanks from every member of the Royal family – including Anne, whom Ms McAdam has dubbed ‘the scary one’. 

She remained silent while snipping the late Queen’s locks and before attempting Princess Anne’s famous beehive, was told not to look her in the eye. 

She styled the Duchess of York’s hair for her wedding to Prince Andrew in 1986 and once said Kate Middleton’s hair was ‘fabulous’ if occasionally ‘overdone’. 

Of the bouffant worn by Princess Anne for the past five decades, she told Radio Times: ‘I just used to go in, close my eyes and do it as quickly as possible.’

Other clients have included Grace Kelly, Joan Collins and Kylie Minogue.

James Pryce

The Duchess of Cambridge’s hairdresser James Pryce,  left, arrives at Macdonald-Cartier  airport in Ottowa for the start of the royal visit to Canada

Kate’s hair was blow dried by James on the Canada tour in 2011

After styling Carole Middleton’s hair for several years, James Pryce was introduced to the Princess of Wales, her father, Michael and sister, Pippa while working at Richard Ward. 

Pryce recalls Carole one day calling him ‘out of the blue’ in 2010 and asking if he could do her hair for Kate’s engagement pictures. Things snowballed from there.

He was part of the team who got the Princess ready for her wedding to Prince William the following year after testing and retesting her now famous ‘half up, half down’ look.

After falling out with his mentor, Richard Ward later that year in the ‘war of the hairdryers’, six months later he was styling Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. Now

at Larry King in Chelsea, Pryce said earlier this year he had ‘peaked early with Kate’.

Jo Hansford

Jo Hansford the ‘top tinter’ who persuaded Queen Camilla to go a lighter blonde

Queen Camilla shows off her blonde hair this month at a Clarence House reception

Camilla’s hair is coloured a perfect shade as she waited outside for the invited children

Jo Hansford, famous for her skill with colour, has dealt with many famous names down the years, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

But it is for her work with her long-term client The Queen that she will be best remembered.  

‘I remember seeing her for the first time,’ she told the Daily Telegraph. ‘Her brown hair had a few lights in it and she had this shaggy fringe.

‘I saw her bright blue eyes and knew immediately that she had to be blonder.’

Seven years later, she would be preparing Camilla to marry Charles; 18 years later she watched Camilla crowned Queen.  

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