'Queen Milli of Galt' - fact or fiction on stage at Thistle Theatre in Embro
A photo shoot at the end of play practice for the Thistle Theatre fall production of “Queen Milli of Galt” by Gary Kirkham is one of the garden scene where Millicent Milroy played by Tracey Price plants the rose bush given to her by Prince Edward VIII (Steve Gauthier). Also in the play are Christina Shelly (Mona the actress), Betty Bartram (Mrs. Milroy), John Butcher (Sir Godfrey, the equerry) and Alexander Innes (press reporter). The play will be performed at the Embro Town Hall, home of Thistle Theatre on Huron St. in Embro. Performance dates are Nov., 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person or $18 per member. For tickets call Nancy Cockle at 519-475-4201 or online at www.ticketscene.ca.
Did a school teacher by the name of Millicent Milroy from the community of Galt really meet, fall in love, and have a morganatic marriage with Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor? You will have to be the judge after viewing the historical romantic comedy by Gary Kirkham. His story proves that some love can last forever.
The play is based on a true story, for after the death of the Duke of Windsor (Edward VIII) in 1972, an 80 year-old woman from Galt, Ontario, had her tombstone engraved, naming herself as his wife. The tombstone can be found in Mount View Cemetery in Galt.
She claimed that proof was in the family bible, but mysteriously disappears two weeks after her death, for her house was broken into and the only item taken was the bible. There are other pieces of evidence like letters arriving with the seal that looked like that of Buckingham Palace and Milli’s claim that she and Edward had two sons while living in Calgary on his ranch. The locals had other stories too.
The play opens with a young reporter wanting to interview the 80-year-old Millicent Milroy, a retired school teacher who claims to be the wife of the late Duke of Windsor (Edward VIII). Flashback to 1919 as Edward, the holding the official title of Prince of Wales, visits Canada as an emissary of the King. Bored with the pomp and circumstance, he slips away from his official duties and begins a romance with a young school teacher who lost her sweetheart in the war.
Edward is played by Steve Gauthier, a new face for Thistle Theatre, but not to stage, for over the last eight years Gauthier has been involved in a number of community theatre productions throughout southwestern Ontario.
Tracey Price has been involved in community theatre in Oxford County for the past two decades and makes her debut on the Thistle Theatre stage with the royal title of Queen Milli.
Another actor making his debut on the Thistle Theatre stage is the young newspaper reporter played by Alexander Innes. His has experience both on stage and backstage at Theatre Woodstock.
Other familiar faces are John Butcher who plays the role of Sir Godfrey, equerry to the prince. Betty Bartram plays the character of Milli’s mother Mrs. Milroy and Christina Shelly plays Mona – an actress who is a friend of Milli’s.
The play is director by Harold Arbuckle who visited the cemetery to see the tombstone and interviewed a couple of Millicent students when researching the play.
The play is co-produced by Wendy Marshall and Chris Cockle.
Performance dates are Nov. 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person or $18 per member. All performances are performed at the Embro Town Hall, Huron St. Embro. For tickets call Nancy Cockle at 519-475-4201 or online at www.ticketscene.ca.