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Radio 4’s The Archers marks Queen’s death with specially-recorded scene

The then Duchess of Cornwall, now the Queen Consort, pictured in 2011 during a visit to BBC Birmingham to meet the cast of The Archers (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)
The then Duchess of Cornwall, now the Queen Consort, pictured in 2011 during a visit to BBC Birmingham to meet the cast of The Archers (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers has marked the death of the Queen with a specially-recorded scene that was broadcast at the start of Sunday’s episode.

Listeners heard two of the serial’s longest-running characters, Lynda Snell and Lilian Bellamy, reminiscing about the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.

“When you think of our lives since then, and everything that’s happened to us, the Queen has always been there – she’s just always been there,” Lynda reflected.

“Steady as a rock,” Lillian replied. “It’s going to be strange without her, I think.”

“It’s going to be very different without her,” Lynda added.

The two characters were also heard discussing a book of condolence that had been set up in the church in Ambridge – the fictional West Midlands village where The Archers is set.

Lynda, who is played by Carole Boyd, revealed that she had struggled to find the right words to add to the book, deciding finally on a simple sentence: “Dearest Ma’am. Rest in peace. You were an inspiration.”

“Do you think that was enough?” she asked tearfully, to which Lilian, who is played by Sunny Ormonde, replied: “Yes, I think that was perfect.”

The Duchess of Cornwall to feature on The Archers
The Archers cast members Sara Coward and Arnold Peters with Princess Margaret during the recording of a special episode of The Archers in 1984 (PA)

The Archers has been broadcast on BBC radio since 1951 and has clocked up more episodes than any other continuous drama serial in the world.

Although the soap opera is based in a fictional village, it has twice featured cameos from members of the real British royal family: Queen Elizabeth II’s sister Princess Margaret, in June 1984, and the then Duchess of Cornwall – now the Queen Consort – in February 2011.

Princess Margaret appeared as the surprise guest at a fundraising fashion show for the NSPCC in the ballroom of Ambridge’s local hotel Grey Gables, while Camilla appeared in her role as president of the National Osteoporosis Society.