Bill Roache: The Queen made you feel like you were ‘the only person in her life’

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 This Morning on Monday.

Roache was among one 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.

Queen Elizabeth II visits Manchester
Queen Elizabeth II meets actors William Roache, Barbara Knox (hidden), Sue Nicholls and Helen Worth, during a visit to the set of Coronation Street at the ITV Studios (Scott Heppell/PA)

The 2021 visit was after the Covid lockdown period and reflected how important soaps had been during this time.

Roache 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 had “quite a long chat” with her when she 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.”

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visiting the newly built location of Coronation Street in Manchester in 1982, meeting some of the cast (left to right) Jack Howarth, William Roache, Anne Kirkbride, Eileen Derbyshire and Thelma Barlow (Ron Bell/PA)

Roache, 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 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.”