Died 6 July 2011, aged 86: Retired office administrator Emily Peel Coughlan, of Woolgreaves Drive, Sandal, was well known to the royal family. After birthday appearances in The Mall, the late Queen Mother would regularly invite her for a birthday drink. At the time of the Queen Mother's death in 2002 Emily, who had last seen her on Remembrance Day the previous November, was quoted as saying: 'I'm absolutely devastated. She was the backbone of the country. She led the whole nation for so many years.'

The present Queen always knew Emily affectionately as 'the lady from Wakefield' and when she visited the city the Lord Lieutenant would arrange for them to meet at the station. Emily used to recall that her enthusiasm for royalty dated back to the time whe, as a ten-year-old schoolgirl, she saw Queen Mary popping into an antiques shop in Emily's home town of Skipton.

She went on over the years to meet and chat with most of the royal family and was in London when Prince Charles married Camilla. Although 80 years old, she chose herself a prime spot at the front of the crowd outside the Guildhall and had a ticket to admit her to the grounds of Windsor Castle, where she was recognised by Prince Charles on his walkabout. She was born at Skipton on 24 November 1924 and married Arthur Coughlan in 1947. They had one daughter, Wendy, a lecturer at the University of Hamburg. The funeral was at St Helen's Church, Sandal, on 14 July 2011, followed by cremation.


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