Ahead of the coronation, two Jewish royal superfans are being inundated with requests to impersonate King Charles and the Queen.
For many years, Ian Lieber, 81, ran a successful interior design company that took him all over the world but began dressing up as the King two years ago after being introduced to Caroline Bernstein through a mutual friend, Dame Maureen Lipman.
“It started as a bit of fun, really,” Ian said. “Caroline and I took some pictures as the King and Queen and sent them to her agent. We immediately started getting inquiries and quite a few jobs.
“For years friends and clients would tell me I share a resemblance - especially my American friends when I would do work in New York - and that was spurred on by my dear friend Maureen who would tell me ‘You’re incredible, you’re reinventing yourself in your 80s!’”
Unlike Ian, Caroline has a background in acting and has in the past impersonated the late Queen, Margaret Thatcher, and Sharon Osbourne among others. The pair now perform as the royals quite regularly in an array of fund-raising events, raffles, celebrations and corporate parties.
“I have come to quite enjoy it,” Ian said. “His Majesty has a very natural and loose way about him, everything flows. He is genuine, down to earth. It can be challenging, especially on long days, to attempt and be mindful of Charles’ distinctive facial expressions. But I don’t mind doing it because, as they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery.”
Ian has met the King himself on two occasions: once while working on a project for the Prince of Wales International Centre for SANE Research in Oxford, of which King Charles is a patron, and again not long after at a dinner to raise money at Highgrove.
"The second time I met him he came straight over and said, ‘Hello, how are you?’ and, after asking me why I was so sun burnt, we got along well. And later, upon an invitation from his staff, His Royal Highness gave me and a small number of others a tour of his garden, as paparazzi were desperately trying to push their heads through the bushes.
“That we looked alike was never brought up in conversation with him, but his staff did pester me about whether there was a relation or if I was Greek too.”
Once before, according to Ian, he was even briefly misidentified as the then-Prince by Margaret Thatcher at a Sotheby’s event for jewellery during her premiership.
“She saw me, walked over clearly thinking I was the Prince of Wales, but stopped just three feet before me,” Ian said.
As recently as March 29, dressed as the King, Ian was featured in The New York Times for an article entitled “For Impersonators of a Prince, It’s Good to Finally Be the King”.
In the window of his antique showroom and shop that he has owned for 30 years at Craven Terrace, Bayswater, Ian will often mark royal occasions with a patriotic display.
“I dressed it up for the Queen’s Platinum and Diamon Jubilees, and sadly her funeral too. I also did something for when William and Kate got married.
“I’ve always carried tremendous respect for the family. They stand for ideals, like respect and dignity, we should all look up to. I think the late queen was fantastic - one of the most fantastic human beings of our period.
"And I think Charles too is fantastic, and William eventually I think will also prove a worthy monarch much like George the Sixth and the Queen Mother were to the nation.
“We wish His Majesty the best of luck and long life in the next years.”