MILWAUKEE -- A few lucky Milwaukeeans got an audience with the queen... sort of. They got a visit from a friend who isn't English royalty, but often gets the royal treatment.
Ella Slack is a rehearsal double for Queen Elizabeth. "I don't think I look like the queen at all but people seem to think I do," Slack says.
Slack spent more than 35 years working behind the scenes at the BBC. She became a stand-in for the queen any time the network needed to rehearse a royal event.
"All the stage managers who did the outside broadcast rehearsals were 6' men. So I said to the producer, would you like me to come and stand there and practice being queen for you? I didn't realize I'd have to go and stand in White Hall for about 2 hours on a Saturday afternoon with all the traffic going by while they lined up all the cameras," she says.
Rehearsal duties include walking around, waiting while cameras and lights are set, and greeting a lot of people.
Only once as something gone horribly wrong. Slack was rehearsing lighting a flame when it tipped over and the carpet caught fire. Slack said she heard the fireman say the queen will not do it because it isn't safe. They perfected the problem and Slack says the queen "did do it on the evening and it all worked well and it was safe."
Being the queen's stand-in means getting to go places most people don't get to go. "Standing in Wembley Arena, or in churches or horse guards parade, riding in her carriage, riding on the royal barge, and I've even ridden in the queen's car," Slack says.
Slack thinks the worst thing about being a stand-in is once the rehearsal finishes you're a nobody. "Once you finish you're out in the street, trying to hail a taxi or you're walking along and nobody knows you've been the queen."
Slack doesn't get paid to be the queen's stand-in. She simply enjoys what she calls a great privilege and hopes to do it as long as she can.
Her next rehearsal is in November. She will stand in the royal box at the Royal Albert Hall.
Slack retired from the BBC but still stands in when they need her. She pays all her own expenses to travel to rehearsals. She has never officially met the queen but would like to.