Coronation Street actor Bill Roache has said the Queen made you feel like you were “the only person in her life” as he reflected on his encounters with her over the years.
The 90-year-old, who is best known for playing Ken Barlow in the ITV soap, recalled meeting the late monarch personally and during her two visits to the cobbles of Weatherfield while appearing on a special episode of This Morning on Monday.
Bill was among one of the veteran cast members who greeted the head of state when she visited in 1982 to open the show’s new set and more recently in 2021 as the soap celebrated its 60th year on screens.
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The 2021 visit was after the Covid lockdown period and reflected how important soaps had been during this time.
Bill told This Morning that he had used the time to compliment the Queen on also being "wonderful" during the difficult coronavirus period as well.
He said: "What was so lovely about her was this readiness to smile, and you felt she wanted to laugh and had a beautiful laugh."
The actor noted that aside from her visits to the set, he had personally met her on a number of other occasions and that he was able to have "quite a long chat" with her when she once visited Preston, Lancashire.
He said that during their conversation, she had explained that she was about to go to Balmoral and was looking forward to the trip.
The actor revealed that what he enjoyed "was her sense of enjoyment", adding: "When you are with her you feel you’re the only person in her life. She’s extraordinary."
Bill, who holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-serving TV soap star in the world, was made an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in December 2021 for his services to drama and charity.
He admitted that he felt a "great sense of personal loss" following the sad news of her death on Thursday.
"It’s a very strange feeling but it’s like a member of your family has gone but King Charles now, who’s taken over, he’s equally as warm," he said.
He added: "I think he will be a wonderful king. He will spread it a little further with his own interests in the planet and animals and welfare for young people.
"He will bring a new thing but he will continue the Queen’s warmth and interest and care."
This week, OK! celebrates the life of Her Majesty the Queen with a commemorative special in honour of Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Be sure to pick up your copy.
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