A lookalike of Queen Elizabeth II has said she is quitting the job after 34 years “out of respect” following the monarch’s death, but will still keep her outfits in memory of a woman who “felt like part of the family”.
Mary Reynolds, 89, who lives in Epping, Essex, first became a lookalike in 1988 but was first told she looked like the late monarch when she was 17.
She has appeared in television and film, with some of her standout moments including starring in the 1990 comedy film Bullseye with the late Sir Roger Moore, as well as an episode in the 25th anniversary series of Doctor Who in 1988.
Ms Reynolds told the PA news agency she felt “lucky” to look like the Queen, but that her days as a doppelganger are to come to an end.
“It’s been a great privilege to look like her because I think she’s so incredible,” Ms Reynolds said.
“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 realise that will be the end as far as I’m concerned… out of respect, I don’t think one should do anything.”
Ms Reynolds said she had been approached by a Russian television company after the Queen’s death on Thursday asking her to don her impersonator outfit.
“There was something about a Russian television company wanting to do something with me and they wanted to see me dressed up and I said, the only way I would dress up as the Queen would be in a black dress,” she said.
The decision to leave her role as a lookalike has made Ms Reynolds “very sad”.
“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,” she said.
“It makes you feel very sad.”
She added that she will probably keep her outfits of the Queen though as “they’ve been part of my life for so long” and said that she had two separate wardrobes for her normal and royal outfits, but would dip into “the Queen’s” closet if she was going “somewhere special”.
Recalling moments from her career, Ms Reynolds noted the excitement some members of the public would experience when they saw her.
“I was just walking around and an African woman dressed up in her robes was going ‘ooh’ every time she saw me because I was ‘the Queen’.”
Despite never meeting the Queen, Ms Reynolds said that she was present at several of her most important milestones.
“I was in the Mall when she got married and I was just off of the Mall for her coronation,” she said.
“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.”
Ms Reynolds added that she always tried 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 said.
“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.”