ARARAT’s Jan Ayer admits she has loved Queen Elizabeth II all of her life.
As a young girl living in the United Kingdom, Mrs Ayer recalls going to London with her mother to catch a glimpse of the Queen during the coronation.
“We camped out on the pavement, we took our travelling rugs and pillows with a flask of tea and waited until the next morning. It was a long day and a long night but no-one slept. You just lived on adrenalin really.
“It was a fascinating time. The atmosphere of the people around where we were sitting on the pavement was indescribable. Everybody was friends with everybody, you’ve never met them before but everybody is talking with each other.
“It was the same with the Royal wedding. I was only nine years old and I could have touched the Queen as she left for her honeymoon, I was that close to her as she went past,” she said.
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Mrs Ayer, who came to Australia in 1956 with her family as “ten pound Poms”, said the Queen was the most impressive woman imaginable, serving up until her last day.
“Even to her last days she served. The new (UK) Prime Minister met with her just two days before dying. She just didn’t stop, her job was her job and she never waivered from it,” she said.
Mrs Ayer said even though Queen Elizabeth was 96 years old, her death still came as a shock.
“I was in the shower and I always take my phone with me and I heard a message come through. When I got out of the shower I had a look and saw my son had sent me a message saying how sad it was to hear about the Queen. I was probably like most people, pretty shocked.
“I had my husband die and my sister die in the last two months and now the Queen on top of that. It was a real shock,” she said.
Mr Ayer said next week’s funeral will be a celebration of a most remarkable woman.
“I don’t think things will ever be the same again.
“The King, because of all of the trouble with Diana, I think won’t have the same sort of following the Queen had,” she said.
“I loved the Queen, I admired her. I’m sad she is no longer with us,” Mrs Ayer said.