Queen Elizabeth lookalike and actress Jeanette Charles dies aged 96

5 June 2024, 00:03

The Queen Elizabeth impersonator Jeanette Charles
The Queen Elizabeth impersonator Jeanette Charles. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

An actress well-known for her resemblance to Queen Elizabeth II has died at 96 - the same age as the late monarch.

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Jeanette Charles died at a care home in Great Beddow in Essex on Sunday, surrounded by her family.

She was well known for appearing as the Queen in films like Austin Powers and the Naked Gun.

Her daughter Carol Christophi paid tribute, saying: "Mum was a real character and a force of nature. She had an amazing life."

She added of her mother: "She was always respectful of the Queen and adored the Royal Family. We will miss her dearly."

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Jeanette Charles
Jeanette Charles. Picture: Alamy

Jeanette explained in 2022 how she began her career as a lookalike for the monarch by responding to an advert for a portrait model.

The artist Jane Thornhill submitted the portrait to the Royal Academy's summer exhibitionm but it was rejected because organisers assumed that it was of the Queen, and the monarch hadn't sat for it herself - which is against the rules.

Jeanette told the Guardian: "When she arrived at the gallery to collect her work, she was pounced on by journalists.

"After that, my phone didn’t stop ringing – I was interviewed for newspapers, magazines and radio, and an agent said my resemblance to the Queen could be a money-spinner."

Muhammad Ali with Queen lookalike Jeanette Charles
Muhammad Ali with Queen lookalike Jeanette Charles. Picture: Alamy

She then began working in films and television, in adverts, music videos and public appearances over the next four decades.

"I handed out gifts with Liberace and presented a silver disc to the band Queen," she said.

Queen Elizabeth personator Jeanette Charles
Queen Elizabeth personator Jeanette Charles. Picture: Alamy

Jeanette added: "I’m proud to have featured on Blue Peter. I sat in when the Spitting Image team were modelling their puppet of the Queen, and contributed to candid camera-type shows and skits for the Goodies, the Rutles and Spike Milligan, though I gave short shrift to Ali G when he asked me to drop my knickers as I got into a limousine."

Jeanette eventually retired in 2014 to her home in Essex.