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Queenie visits Hilton Beach for Platinum Jubilee scones and tea

'Queenie' Crack has been aging gracefully with Guinness and pets since Prince Phillip touselled her hair back when she was a Brownie

2022 marks the year of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee and people around the world are celebrating the first British Monarch to have ruled for 70 years. 

Many held festivities over the weekend to mark the Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend and Hilton Beach had a celebration of its own.

The town had its very own 'Queen mum' stop by Madjacks Café, a new British/Canadian eatery, for its idea of high tea. A steady flow of patrons was greeted by her as they arrived for a serving of English tea and scones.

The 'royal', known locally as Lavera Crack, arrived in a country-style chariot – a pickup truck – Saturday driven by her husband, John.

In character, the 'Queen' and her regal wave caused motorists to do a double-take as they approached the heart of the village.

She was met and greeted by royal supporters from the young to the young at heart. Many were amazed by how spry she was for 96, asking a number of questions.

When asked about her key to longevity, she replied, “A pint of Guinness and a pet at your side.”

And she has actually met Queen Elizabeth II, in person.

In the 1950s, Crack, then a young Brownie, met Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Sault Ste. Marie.

“The meeting took place in Bellevue Park,” she said. “We were all lined up. One by one her Majesty shook our hand. Prince Phillip tousled my hair.”

In her lifetime, Crack has made two trips to England. Each trip included a visit to Buckingham Palace and the Pall Mall, Westminster, London. On one occasion she was present just one day after Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married on July 29, 1981.

Madjacks owner proud British ex-pat

Formerly of Essex, in the South East region of England, Madjacks owner Jacqueline Knisley immigrated to Canada in 1980, settling first in Toronto.

Later she married a Canadian and moved to Duntroon in the Collingwood region where she raised her four children.

“I am a proud Brit and proud royal but Canada is my home and I’ve been a proud Canadian for the past 42 years as well,” Jacqueline said adding her family continues to live in England.

A registered nurse, Knisley always had a hand in cooking and catering as a side business while helping out in the community with various tasks.

“It’s a new business venture, but it’s not new for our brains to do baking,” she said adding the business is a joint effort with her daughter Madeline Knisley who is also a nurse.

In recent months, Knisley travelled north to visit her daughter, Madeline Knisley. During her stay, Madeline encouraged the two women to take a short road trip to St. Joseph Island.

They drove around the Island and that same weekend she said, she bought a house in Hilton and within two weeks of her trip north she settled.

“As soon as I crossed the bridge, I said this was where I wanted to live,” Jacqueline said. “I got this really nice feeling. It’s a community unto its own.

"The Island resembled the small-town flavour of Duntroon where she lived for 20 years.

“It’s small but mighty,” Madeline added.

Due to the cost of living and surviving on a pension, Jacqueline needed a job.

The former restaurant, the Dry Dock or historical Lornie’s, came up for sale. Her passion for baking motivated her to buy it in mid-April.

After some interior renovations, Jacqueline opened the door to the family business with her daughter Madeline Kinsley of Sault Ste. Mare on May 14.

Madeline described the menu as “Canadian food with a British twist.”

Among her menu items are jacket potatoes, roll’in Willies or her own flare of a grilled cheese along with baked goods including various types of scones, baked fresh daily.

Jacqueline has a number of ideas about things to do with the café and encourages residents to follow her on Facebook to keep up with developments.

The entrance to the café has many items that remind her of her homeland including collectible items in the theme of the royal family.

Jacqueline, aged 18 and working as a traffic warden at the time, saw see Queen Elizabeth II in public during the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Her duties were to keep the public back as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, in a gorgeous horse-drawn gold carriage, passed throngs of onlookers.

“It’s my only claim to fame,” she said.

Despite the Queen’s age and health, Jacqueline is not surprised that she continues to hang onto the reins as long as she can, which could be for several years to come.

Jacqueline's family tree includes royal blood.

Her nan, Emily Napper, was a direct descendent of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII who was beheaded in the Tower of London.