Queen Lookalike to Retire After 34 Years Out of Respect. "It's All Going to Be Very Weird"
“It’s been a great privilege,” she says.
A woman who has worked as a Queen Elizabeth II impersonator for decades is hanging up her crown following the passing of the monarch on September 8, 2022. Mary Reynolds, 89, from Epping, UK, has shared an uncanny resemblance to Queen Elizabeth her whole life, but is finally retiring out of respect. "It's a change of an era now, it's all going to be very weird," Reynolds says. "You do sort of realize that will be the end as far as I'm concerned… out of respect, I don't think one should do anything," she told PA Media. Here's what it was like being a royal doppelganger all these years.
Reynolds was first told she looked like Queen Elizabeth when she was 17 years old. Over three decades of professional lookalike work, Reynolds has played the Queen on TV and film, including the 1990 comedy Bullseye with the late Sir Roger Moore, and a 1988 episode of Doctor Who. Reynolds says she is "lucky" to look like the Queen. "It's been a great privilege to look like her because I think she's so incredible," she told PA Media.
Reynolds is officially retiring as a Queen Elizabeth lookalike out of respect for the late monarch and her family. "I mean, it's a change of an era now, it's all going to be very weird. I was watching the television the day before and felt that there was going to be some bad news, which of course eventually came and it makes you feel very, very, very sad. And then you do sort of realize that will be the end as far as I'm concerned… out of respect, I don't think one should do anything," she told PA Media.
Reynolds has amassed a large collection of Queen Elizabeth costumes, which she will keep (and dip into for special occasions). "I've just moved home… and I've got two boxes full of hats and I've just found somewhere to put them and I thought: I'm not really going to need them any more, it makes you feel very sad," she told PA Media. "They've been part of my life for so long."
Reynolds says she celebrated many of the late Queen's significant events and celebrations. "I was in the Mall when she got married and I was just off of the Mall for her coronation," she told PA Media. "I slept overnight in the road with my boyfriend, in tents. We got very wet and we got very lucky because one of the buildings there had a radio so we actually heard the whole of the service and as they put the crown on her head, the heavens opened."
Reynolds says she tries to "act like the Queen and to be nice to and respect people. She was a person who was so much light and she was a very well-loved person and friends with everybody, she just felt like part of the family, almost. I've had all these years of doing the work and it has helped me earn some money, but at the same time it was a pleasure for people to see you and say: 'It's the Queen.' Wherever you went in the world, it was the Queen – not Queen Elizabeth, not the Queen of England, it was the Queen. There will never be anyone like her," she told PA Media.