Platinum Jubilee: Pleasant Meadow resident recalls her brushes with royalty

Jill Raines shares her unique moment in history with fellow residents during Jubilee celebration

Pleasant Meadow Manor resident Jill Raines remembers having a front-row seat during one of the 20th century’s most memorable moments.

The Norwood, Ont. long-term care home celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee last week, and Jill had a chance to share the story of her brush with the monarch on the day of her coronation 69 years ago.

Following the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, the Royal Procession made its way through central London – and Jill and her sister were among the children moved to the front of the crowd to watch and wave as the newly crowned monarch passed.

Jill’s uncle, a colonel in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was marching behind the gold coach carrying the Queen. Jill says she got excited and started waving and jumping up and down, calling out her uncle’s name.

But, Jill says, her sister felt she was “making too much of a scene,” so she “poked” her and Jill fell close to the carriage.

“I got a very good look at the carriage and it really was a sight to behold,” Jill recalled.

But this would not be the last time Jill saw the Queen. In 1977, during the celebration of her Silver Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth said hello to Jill as she passed by.

When Pleasant Meadow life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams asked Jill what she said in reply, Jill said, “oh no, you don’t speak to the Queen, you just smile sweetly and curtsy.”

This, of course, sparked more questions from the other residents as well as from the staff, Kim says.

“When I told her that I thought that it was cool that she got to see the coronation and the Queen herself, Jill said she never thought of it that way, but looking back she supposed it really was quite special,” Kim said.

Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation took place 16 months later.

Pleasant Meadow Manor celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with trivia and a cake that was donated to the home by the Township of Asphodel-Norwood’s heritage and cultural committee.

Kim says the event was well-received by residents.

“The residents enjoyed the Jubilee party, and everyone helped each other with trivia,” she said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pleaseant Meadow Manor resident Jill Raines and her husband, John, are pictured at left during the Platinum Jubilee celebration the home recently hosted in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. Pictured at right is a banner that was made for the occasion.