It's hard to imagine what life as the Queen would be like, but for one woman, Ella Slack, she's had a taste. The 74-year-old has acted as Her Majesty's stand-in for more than 30 years, playing the role of the monarch at rehearsals for big events. Each engagement that the Queen takes part in is rehearsed, from opening a hospital wing to the State Opening of Parliament. So it may not come as a surprise that her every step is practised beforehand – in most cases, by Ella.
The royal double, from Ramsey, Isle of Man, has stood in for the Queen over 50 times. Speaking in a video for Great Big Story, Ella explained how she landed the extraordinary role. "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?
Ella has stood in for the Queen over 50 times
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"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."
Her first stand-in appearance was at the cenotaph
Ella, who has never accepted payment for her services, describing it as a "pleasure and an honour", added: "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 programmes going out, and I'll see her there, and think, I did it for you."
The royal double also explained the difference in her role, saying: "A stand-in is not a lookalike. I don't look like the Queen. But I'm the same sort of stature and height. I'm about virtually 5'. The Queen is about 5'2"."