Marilyn Monroe lookalike Suzie Kennedy reflects on the huge impact the Queen’s presence had on each of their lives
The only constant in life is change. This was according to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. They say change does one good. Nobody talks much about the benefits of constants, especially when the world around us is changing so rapidly. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II may not have been a direct family member, but millions of us across the globe feel like she was.
Every generation from the youngest to the oldest has spent the last 70 years with the Queen’s consistent presence leading us through the changing landscape of time.
Perhaps for many of us, the Queen represented the grandmother we never had, or the kind lady down the street that you respected yet knew she would still give you a sweet out of her handbag. Some of us may have also experienced a Christmas day that wasn’t complete without someone shouting at you across the house that: “You had better hurry up as the Queen is about to come on TV!”
Whether you were mid roast potato or on your first sherry, the whole house fell silent as the mother of our nation wished us a Merry Christmas and imparted some wisdom to help carry us from the passing year to the new year ahead.
The Queen’s Speech was more than a speech to the public; as the years went on it felt like a call from a favourite relative we looked forward to. It was watched in houses across the world.
In recent years it was also watched on phones and social media platforms. The way we watched the Queen changed, but she was constant.
When two female icons met
In my work as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, I have been asked if I ever met the Queen. Sadly, I didn’t. I had seen her from afar at various events, like many of the public, but a personal audience with the Queen eluded me.
The real Marilyn Monroe however, did. Marilyn’s one request on her trip to England was to meet the Queen. Both women were the same age, being born the same year and with birthdays celebrated in the same month.
In June 1956 all eyes were on the Queen of England as she met the Queen of Hollywood. A photograph of them smiling as they shook hands drove the press wild. Unlike Marilyn, the Queen was not just a queen of a screen. She was the Queen of England. It had been three years since the coronation where, at the age of 27, she took on the role to lead our nation as its head. A pressure few queens of Hollywood could handle.
Suzie Kennedy as Marilyn Monroe
Media representations of the Queen
Hollywood did give the Queen the silver screen treatment in 2006. The film The Queen dealt with the aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In it, the Queen was portrayed by Helen Mirren.
Rumours are that the Queen watched the film. Helen Mirren commented to the press that she had the “sense” that her portrayal had been “seen and appreciated”. Most recently the Queen has been portrayed on the soap-opera style Netflix series, The Crown.
It is believed that the Queen did not appreciate its dramatisations as the series progressed, and the Queen’s press secretary Donal McCabe even wrote to The Guardian in 2019 noting that the royal family did not approve of the content.
The world was changing, and the public wanted the royals to change with it. The Queen recognised the public need for a more relational monarch.
Who will forget 2012 when we saw 007 enter Buckingham palace to be met by the Queen and then both headed to a helicopter and parachuted their way into the London Olympics.? Or Paddington bear finally finding out from the Queen what she carries in her handbag? And let’s not forget her grandson Prince Harry sharing with his grandmother a message on his iPhone as they sat on the sofa, culminating in a mic drop – much to her amusement?
As Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple commented: “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” This is what the Queen did.
Providing what we needed
The Queen showed the public not only what we wanted but what we needed. We didn’t need another reality show or for the Queen to start tweeting. We needed consistency in a rapidly changing world.
We needed humour and fun on celebratory moments and warmth and wise words in our Christmas messages. We needed messages of strength and shows of solidarity during hard times of war and most recently during the pandemic.
I think we were all moved watching the Queen sit alone at her husband Prince Phillip’s funeral. It was a show of solidarity and equality with her subjects during a time of great grief.
The Queen led our country through the best of times, the worst of times and the changing of times. She was constant.
As a Christian the one constant I have known in my life, besides the Queen, is Jesus. His love, wisdom and presence are a constant in my life. It comes as no surprise that the one constant in the Queen’s life was her faith.
The Queen was the head of the Church of England, and her faith was deeply personal. In 2014 she described Jesus as the “anchor” in her life. In 1952 the Queen gave her first Christmas broadcast.
She asked that the country pray that God would give her the strength and wisdom to carry out the promise to fully serve him and us all the days of her life. He answered that prayer. Matthew 20:28 reads: “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”; Queen Elizabeth II was not only a great servant to her country but a great servant to the Lord.
Suzie Kennedy is an actress best known as a Marilyn Monroe lookalike who has appeared in Movies such as Bladerunner 2049 and The Theory of Everything. Suzie is currently studying a BA in Theology and Counselling. Suzie is on Instagram @SuzieKennedy