Heirdresser by Royal Appointment

SHE started out snipping hair in Edinburgh's Greens salon 35 years ago.

• Denise McAdam, right, styled the Duchess of York's hair on her wedding day

But tomorrow Penicuik girl Denise McAdam will cement her place as one of Scotland's greatest hairdressers when she receives the Royal Victorian Medal from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

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The medal is awarded to those who have provided personal services to the Royal Family and the award puts the seal on a remarkable relationship Denise has enjoyed with the Windsors for 30 years.

She has had a Royal Warrant for 12 years but tomorrow's award will make her the only hairdresser currently working to have the RVM.

The 52-year-old mother-of-one is responsible for looking after the hair of the Prince of Wales and Prince William, as well as the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, and the Duchess of York - whom she styled on her wedding day to Prince Andrew. She also tended the famous locks of Princess Diana.

Her links to the Royal Family have also seen her in demand in the celebrity world, where she has been called on to create hairstyles for pop star Kylie Minogue, actress Bo Derek and supermodel Cindy Crawford.

• Handy guide on how to avoid a bad hair day at the salon

It is all a far cry from her early days at Greens in George Street, or her first step on the ladder learning her trade at Edinburgh's Telford College.

Speaking before tomorrow's RVM award ceremony in London, Ms McAdam admitted she was still nervous about the award despite being on friendly terms with the monarch for decades.

She said: "I'm on good terms with the Queen but I'll still have butterflies in my stomach.

"My family are totally ecstatic about it. My mum and dad still live in Penicuik, so it will be a great day out for them. It shows that if you have a dream and you set your mind to something you can achieve it, even if you are just an ordinary girl from Scotland."

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Denise's big break came in 1976 when, working as a trainee at Greens, she was asked to style the hair of Princess Grace of Monaco.

The princess was delighted with the result and word soon spread about the young hairdresser from Midlothian.

She went on to run her own salon in London's Mayfair and became a well-known figure on TV sofas like GMTV giving hairdressing tips. In 2003, she launched a new range of hair products with Tesco.A new McAdam haircare range is planned for release early next year.

Despite her hectic preparations for the RVM award ceremony, Ms McAdam took time out to speak to students at her old college, Telford, last week.

Despite having worked with the Royal Family for more than 30 years and travelled the globe tending to the manes of the rich and famous, Ms McAdam still credits the start of her successful career to the time she spent at Telford.

She said: "I owe a lot of my success in my career from the initial start and support I got from Telford. My advice to current students is to keep going and don't stop believing in yourself - the possibilities that arise from studying at College are limitless. Scottish hairdressers are considered the best in the business."

Telford's Hairdressing Curriculum Manager, Jakki Jeffery said: "Denise has had an extensive, colourful career. She has been a great inspiration to our students, showing them the opportunities can arise from studying at college and instiling in them the motivation to work hard to achieve a rewarding career."