'She's magnificent' - Two centenarians recall memories of the Queen ahead of Jubilee

Owen Filer from Cwmbran captured the hearts of the nation from the very first moment he appeared on ITV Wales. His first interview received more than seven million views on social media, and we have revisited the sprightly, quick-witted 102-year-old numerous times since.

His memory is still as quick as his wit, so we decided to bring him together with another inspirational lady - Gwen Lloyd from Swansea, whose 100th birthday party we attended a few weeks ago - to talk all things royal in the lead-up to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The pair hit it off in seconds - and like the tea, the conversation flowed. Both remember clearly the day Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952.

"She went up a tree in Africa on safari and her poor father died, and that's where she had the news," Owen recalled.

"She had to come home and she's suddenly Queen."

The moment ITV Wales correspondent Rob Osborne first met Owen Filer

Mother-of-four Gwen fondly remembers watching the Coronation on a television that had been given to her and her family by her father-in-law. As many people didn’t have a television at the time, she recalls how they invited the neighbours in to watch it.

“The actual crowning was magnificent," said Gwen.

"It really was magnificent - and when they placed the crown upon her head, I did have a few tears. When I think of it now, the weight was so heavy and she was so majestic sitting there in all her glory."

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As the longest serving monarch, the Queen has celebrated many milestones and there have been many jubilees over the last 70 years. Both Gwen and Owen remember the celebrations well.

"You used to decorate the streets and you'd have flowers in the pots and things like that, and you'd have a competition as to the best dressed window," said Gwen.

"Just a couple of pence we used to give for months beforehand, knowing it was coming up."

Owen added: "The street party was held right outside my door. We had a radiogram in those days, like a sideboard plugged into my electric. I couldn't really afford it, but I let them do it and my cousin put it up on top of the table and took the window out and the music was blaring and they were all dancing, lovely."

The Queen pictured on one of her most recent public appearances, at the 2022 Chelsea Flower Show (May 23). Credit: PA

Asked what the Queen has brought to the country over the last 70 years, they both agree on one word - ‘stability’. Both are also adamant that while Her Majesty has been through some difficult times, they would much rather stick with royalty than have a President at the helm - and believe that despite criticism from some, the Queen is still relevant today.

"When the Queen goes to Ascot, she's a magnet isn't she?" Owen said.

"They all want to go. Everybody goes - it swells the crowd - it's great isn't it? If the Queen wasn't there they probably would stay at home and peel the potatoes."

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Asked whether it was time to hand over the reins, both said they’d like to see her continue for a little longer.

Gwen added: "So long as she takes it easy and she's carrying a walking stick. I'm so pleased as I used to say 'you want a walking stick'."

As they turned 100, a highlight for both Owen and Gwen was receiving a telegram from the Queen. Owen says that within an hour of receiving it, his son had framed it for him and had hung it on the wall.

Gwen’s mother had lived until she was 102, and Gwen remembers her also receiving a telegram, joking with Owen that her mother felt like a ‘film star.’

Both Owen and Gwen received telegrams from the Queen to mark turning 100 years old.

As the tea flowed and sandwiches were eaten, both talked about their memories of living under the reign of previous monarchs King George V, Edward VIII and George VI.

But for the last 70 years, they both agree that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has served this country and the commonwealth well.

Both are looking forward to watching the celebrations from the comfort of their own homes later this week, with Owen already planning on waving his Union Jack flag, which he’s kept safely on his wall next to his framed telegram.