Ella Elizabeth Marks, 89, who lives in Ealing, has been present for every coronation and funeral procession of a British monarch since 1937 and received an MBE award from The King in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the community in the London Borough of Ealing.
Having attended Windsor Castle for the investiture ceremony in February this year where the King presented her with the MBE award, Marks recalled: “That was a very amazing experience.
“The King immediately asked about the work I had done for the League of Jewish Women, partly that threw me because I was all ready to talk about Ealing but in reflection I’m amazed that he had obviously done his homework incredibly well.”
A former President of the League of Jewish Women and a volunteer for Age UK, Marks is dedicated to charity work and volunteering and was invited to attend the Queen’s funeral in September last year at Westminster Abbey as a recent Honours recipient.
As a member of the public in attendance, Marks said: “The most impressive of all was Her Majesty’s funeral at the Abbey, that was really incredibly impressive and important and prior to that obviously her coronation and seeing the parade at the coronation.
“The Abbey was the most moving and I can’t say more than that I think, it was the most impressive or most moving thing that I shall remember certainly.”
An admirer of the monarchy, Marks was present for King George VI’s funeral procession in February 1952 and Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation the following June and said: “We stayed up and slept out all night on the pavement in the rain, it was very wet, it was just terribly exciting.”
Marks was a child when she was present at King George VI’s coronation procession with her family in 1937 following the abdication of King Edward VIII: “I was present outside the palace for his coronation but I can’t really say I remember it, I was three at the time, I gather I was on my father’s shoulders.”
She could however recall a national broadcast King George VI conducted: “I can remember that he had problems speaking and willing him to get to the end of his sentence.”
The King’s coronation on May 6 will last 60 minutes with a guest list slimmed down to 2,000 as opposed to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation which lasted four hours with 8,250 guests in attendance in 1952.
Regarding the significance of the royal events she has witnessed, Mrs Marks said: “It’s part of our tradition and I think there’s a value in tradition it’s part of a collective memory.
“We’ve been very fortunate in George VI and the Queen and now the King.”