Imagine how strange it would be to have someone stand in your place in preparation for certain events. How odd it would feel to know that someone is pretending to be you – even if just for a moment, and for official reasons.
That’s exactly what Ella Slack did for Queen Elizabeth II for over 30 years. On more than 50 occasions, she served as the official stand-in for the late monarch during rehearsals for big events to make sure everything went without a hitch. Part of her job, for example, has ensured that the Queen wouldn’t have the sun glaring in her eyes and that she would be visible over podiums.
Ella Slack took her role as the Queen’s stand-in very seriously, even styling her hair like Elizabeth II and scouring shops to find suitable outfits and handbags. While she doesn't look much like the late Queen, she is of roughly the same stature and height, making her an ideal stand-in. Remarkably, Slack took on the role of Queen Elizabeth II’s stand-in for free, even paying for all of her travel expenses over the years because she thought it was such a great privilege to act as the Queen’s double and help her in some way.
Not quite the Queen, but close enough:
- Before landing her unusual role in the 1980s, Slack worked as a secretary and manager for the sports and events team at the BBC. Now in her late 70s, she lives in Ramsey on the Isle of Man.
- "The events that I've been helping with are events that are transmitted worldwide,” Slack explained, “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."
- Sadly, despite acting as Queen Elizabeth II’s stand-in for three decades, Ella Slack never actually got to meet the monarch.
- During a rehearsal for Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, Slack was practicing lighting the flame and a gust of wind blew at the beacon she was holding, lighting the carpet below her on fire. Fortunately, a fire officer was there. “They spent a lot of time and effort making sure it was safe for the Queen the next day,” she said.