The Queen conducts hundreds of engagements every year and has undertaken tens of thousands in her lifetime – many of which have been televised. So it might not surprise you to learn that many of these engagements are rehearsed in advance of the actual visit to ensure everything runs smootly for the royal party. At rehearsals, one particular lady, pensioner Ella Slack, has been tasked with being Her Majesty’s stand-in for almost 30 years.
Ms Slack, who lives on the Isle of Man, is used by broadcasters because of her similar size and stature to our Monarch. Because of the physical similarities between the two, Ella is a perfect stand-in for Her Majesty.
In her long career as the ‘Rehearsal Queen’, Ella has stood in for Her Majesty at important rehearsals for state occasions, including Trooping the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament.
Speaking to media company Great Big Story, Ella explained how the opportunity to stand in for The Queen came about.
She said: “It started because I was at the BBC and the producer who was doing The Cenotaph came to see me and said that the Queen had sent a message to say, when she stood at the Cenotaph, the sun was in her eyes, and so could we do anything about it?
“Well, I said to him, would you like me to come and stand in the position for you because all the stage managers were six foot men. And then that led on to other things. I went in her royal carriage and rode on the boat up to the Tower of London.
“And then there will be the state opening of Parliament. I’ve never been allowed to sit on the throne in the House of Lords. I have to lurk above it – it’s a very strict rule. If I’m in a carriage or a car, I will wave.
“The events that I’ve been helping with are events that are transmitted worldwide, and millions of people are going to watch. I look afterwards, and watch the programs going out, and I’ll see her there, and think, I did it for you.”
Ella has never accepted any payment for the service she provides, describing it as a “pleasure and an honour.”