Bristol

In pictures: My parallel life to the Queen

Freda Marks
Image caption Freda Marks admires the Queen and loves that she "always has a smile for everyone"

Great-grandmother Freda Marks shares her birthday with the Queen and, despite their vastly different backgrounds, believes the two women have enjoyed similar life experiences.

Mrs Marks, from Somerset, worked on Spitfires during World War Two at the same time as the then Princess Elizabeth drove first aid trucks.

She thinks the Queen is "marvellous to do what she does" and loves that "she always has a smile for everyone".

She has sent a letter to the Queen for her birthday, saying "see you at 100".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Freda worked on Spitfires, including checking their compasses, at the same time the Queen joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as a mechanic and driver

Freda knew she had met her true love when she was introduced to Raymond at a dance near her home. She was 18 and he was 23.

When he had to return to the Royal Air Force their romance continued in letters, written to each other using lines from what became their special song: "You'll never know how much I love you".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Freda married her husband Raymond a year before the Queen's big day. While the Queen was watched by millions, Freda enjoyed a gin and orange in her local pub

Freda married her sweetheart Raymond Marks on 4 November 1946 and while the Queen's big day a year later was full of pomp and ceremony and watched by millions on television, Freda enjoyed a gin and orange - "I don't drink but I had one that day" - in her local pub surrounded by about 100 family and friends.

The marriage lasted 65 years until Raymond's death.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Freda and Raymond had five children. Their first born was Rodney who is now 68, a year older than Prince Charles

Freda and Raymond had five children but daughter Janis Wendy died from leukaemia aged 21.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Freda is currently ahead of the Queen in the family stakes with nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, compared to the Queen's eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren

The family spent summer holidays each year at a caravan park in Exmouth, which Freda remembers as "a lovely time" spent enjoying watching the children play on the beach, eating ice-creams and going to shows.

Image caption Freda thinks Sandy Bay in Exmouth beats the Queen's holiday retreat of Balmoral

"I could go there right now and enjoy just looking at the sea," she said.

While on one such holiday, two of her grandchildren persuaded her into a pedalo despite her being "sure I was going to fall in".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen welcomed in the year 2000 at the Millennium Dome, Freda opted for her local pub with family and friends

The millennium was "a good time" when "everybody was enjoying themselves". Freda went to her local pub with her husband, family and friends.

Freda loves her garden and spends hours watching wildlife.

Image caption Nonagenarians Freda and Elizabeth share a love of their garden and the outdoors

She is now a proud matriarch with nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one "on the way".

Image copyright PA
Image caption While their surroundings might be worlds apart, Freda says she has had "a lovely life'" and 'would not change a thing'

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