From Monday to Friday, 9-5, Harriet Ball, from Ormskirk in Lancashire, is a media trainee. But when the clock strikes 5:00pm on a Friday afternoon she begins the process of transforming into Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II.
The 23 year old is particularly busy at the moment for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, but took the time to tell OK! about her unique part time job…
“I am aware that I’m surrounded by people who feel they could do the job better,” I’ll earnestly say to myself while looking in the mirror. “But, for better or worse, the Crown has landed on my head. ”
“It’s a direct quote from Claire Foy in Netflix’s The Crown, where she plays the Queen. It’s the line I always use to get myself into the right headspace before a day of playing Her Majesty,” explains Harriet
“Once I’ve spoken it I’m no longer Harriet, a media trainee from Lancashire, I’m Her Majesty, and my accent and mannerisms completely change as a result. I’ve been a professional Queen Elizabeth II lookalike since 2017,” so I’ve got pretty good at slipping into character.
The job chose me
“Much like the Queen herself, I didn’t choose this career. My first job was a happy accident. My boyfriend at the time did army re-enactments and he went early to a job to check out the surroundings. The event organiser spotted me and said, “You look like the Queen – do you mind playing her today? We’ll pay.”
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this so the request wasn’t a complete shock. My friends were always sending me photos of young Queen Elizabeth and saying, “I thought that was you.” Some people even questioned whether I’d been Photoshopped into old photos. To me, those comments were huge compliments.
I dress in vintage clothes anyway – I don’t own a single pair of jeans – so I was able to put something together quickly for the event. I got to arrive in a fancy vintage car, and little girls presented me with flowers. I thought I could definitely get used to the glamor of it all, and began doing it alongside my university degree in screenwriting.
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I’ve got to do all sorts of gigs, including going to nursing home parties, attending 1940s-themed weekends and just royal knees-ups. Every week is different, and it’s always a lot of fun. I love to see how excited I make people – watching people have fun with my impression makes all the hard work behind the scenes worthwhile.
One of my strangest requests is being asked to sing as the Queen, but I just found it too difficult as it’s not something I can imagine her doing, so I’ll never say yes to that again.
I take the job very seriously. I’ve done a lot of research on the Queen, which all started when my grandma gifted me a load of books on her coronation. She loves the royals, as do my whole family. Although she always tells me that she prefers Princess Margaret. You can’t win them all!
Getting the look right
“I’ve watched countless clips of the Queen and hours of The Crown in order to replicate the accent. I’ll practise in front of my best friend Lauren, who will tell me when I’m slipping back into my northern twang.
I sometimes shop at vintage fairs, eBay and at charity shops, but I’ve found the best way to recreate her looks is to make the outfits myself, with some assistance from my seamstress friends.
I have about 10 looks now, a whole box of tiaras and so many pairs of gloves. My mum can make jewelry so she’s created some amazing replicas for me too. The most I’ve paid for an outfit is £250 – it was a beautiful indigo ballgown with ivory leaf sequins sewn onto it, very similar to the one the Queen wore when President Kennedy visited. I felt incredible in it.
Growing up, I’d always be the one dressing up as a princess so it felt like it all came really naturally to me. All I have to do is wave and smile. Although not too wide as that’s not what the Queen does, which is hard for me as I’m such a cheesy grinner.
I get to live a double life – working at a TV and film production company in the week and then being the Queen at the weekend. I’ve noticed people treat me differently when I’m the Queen – they are more polite and nervous. Even my friends get a bit more stiff!
Once my friend rang me and asked what I was up to and I was like, “Oh, I’m just having fish and chips with Winston Churchill.” He was doing an event with me, and we were taking our lunch together.
As well as perfecting the mannerisms, it’s important I get the Queen’s look right. I’ll wash my hair and pin it three days before an event as it’s really thick so it takes that long to dry. It has to be perfect so I’ll wear my rollers to work, which some of my colleagues find amusing.
Luckily, the make-up only takes an hour as the Queen has always favored a natural look.
I met the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, at one event and he even told me I looked like her. I feel like I’m doing a good job now that I have the royal approval. I also sing on the side so I gave him one of my CDs and told him, “You can play that in the car on the way home.” I can’t believe I actually did that.
Thanks to the Platinum Jubilee I’ve never been busier. I’m the only person in the country who is a young Queen Elizabeth lookalike so I’m super booked up. I’ve had people message me on Instagram and Facebook in the last month asking if I could come to their event. They needed to get in touch a year ago!
When people get in touch they often ask if I can bring a Prince Philip lookalike with me, but I’m single. I would love to meet my soulmate like the Queen did and have a marriage as long as theirs. Hopefully he’ll look like Philip and we can do the events together.
The family values are just one thing I admire about the Queen. I also respect her work ethic – the fact she’s still doing so much at 96 is incredible. I recently sent a card to congratulate her on the Platinum Jubilee and got a lovely reply that lives on my mantelpiece.
I’m considering sending some photos of me as the Queen to her, but I feel nervous about it. If I ever met her I’d probably faint.
The more time I’ve spent playing her, the more obsessed I’ve become with her. That doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy being me. As soon as the Jubilee celebrations are over I’m going to use my earnings, which are £50+ per appearance, and go to Paris with my best friends. My money will also go towards buying new Queen outfits.
I hope my resemblance to the Queen continues and I can play her at all stages of her life. I love it, I never want to stop.”
Check out Harriet’s Instagram page here.
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