Michael Crawford says Queen Elizabeth has “taken him through” his life.
The 80-year-old actor was just 10 years old when Queen Elizabeth – who died at the age of 96 on September 8 following a 70-year reign – acceded to the throne after the death of her father King George and upon hearing the news, he immediately went home from school to start a scrapbook on her, which he has kept to this day.
He said: “Well I was a 10-year-old choirboy at the London Choir School in Bexley in Kent and we were called out to the tennis courts to be given an announcement and it was just very plain and simple ‘The King is dead, long live the Queen’ and the first thing I did was go home and found out who this lady is going to be. I bought the comics that I normally took and they were full of this beautiful young princess. I started a scrapbook. We didn’t have phones in those days, but there were plenty of hobbies and one of them was making scrapbooks, which, I have kept to this day. This wonderful lady has taken me through my life and hundreds of thousands of others as well.”
The West End star – who was awarded a CBE back in 2014 for charitable and philanthropic services – went on to explain that the late monarch was “rather like” former Prime Minister Winston Churchill and believes that her State Funeral on Monday (17.09.22) will be tearful occasion.
Speaking on the BBC special ‘The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth’, he said: “It’s so difficult to say. It sounds so strange. She was so close to so many with our thoughts. Rather like Churchill, you didn’t see the engine room. You just saw the result. She was always so kind and so generous.
“I remember the other day, when the car was coming back from Northolt and the outriders were protecting her. Thousands of people were standing in the middle of the road – all races, all ages just clapping this wonderful woman. As we came round Victoria memorial, the outriders were all gathered in two lines on a curve with these large helmets on bending their heads forward. I burst into tears. It was so moving and I think there are going to be many tears tomorrow.”