Highbury Prince William lookalike living like royalty
A PRINCE William lookalike from Highbury is laughing all the way to the bank after the jokes turned to photoshoots when the royal wedding date was announced.
Simon Watkinson never seemed too bothered by the mickey-taking from mates down the pub or the stares from strangers in the street.
But when his doppleganger Wills finally took the plunge and proposed to his beloved Kate Middleton, the laid-back civil engineer from Highbury Grove decided the time had come to turn his dashing good looks into cold hard cash.
“I had thought about signing up with a lookalike agency for a while but never seriously,” explained the 29-year-old Australian, who has lived in Islington for the last four years. “Then when the engagement was announced I thought now’s the time, but before I got around to doing anything my girlfriend secretly sent a photo off to the famous celebrity lookalike photographer Alison Jackson.
“I met up with her and then joined an agency and since then the response has been incredible. I’ve done photoshoots, I’ve been to Norway for a gossip magazine and I got flown out to the Isle of Wight by helicopter to open a housing development.
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“When I arrived there was a red carpet, a marching band and 200 people waving the Union Jack. One old lady even came up to me and said: ‘I met your mother many years ago. She’s a wonderful lady’.”
Growing up in Adelaide in the 1980s, Simon was pretty protected from the Prince William jokes, but it was his English relatives who first began to notice the resemblance.
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“Back home people did not know Prince William’s face too well, but I’ve got family over here and from the age of about 12 they used to say things,” he said. “Through my teens and early 20s I started to get more and more people stopping me in the street and jokes in the pub as Will’s face got in the media more, and when I moved over here in 2006 it got even worse.
“Sometimes I’m sitting on the Tube and I can see people looking and whispering, which is quite hilarious really as there’s no way Prince William would be on the Tube.
“I don’t mind any of it though. There are worse people to look like.” Apparently his girlfriend does not mind the attention he gets either, although that may have a lot to do with his princely charm.
“She gets a little bit jealous about me spending time with all the Kate lookalikes but I did turn down a last-minute meeting with Cat Deeley to go out for dinner with her, so I think she knows she’s number one,” explained Simon. “She looks nothing like Kate though – a bit Lady Gaga perhaps.”
For Simon, his new career as a lookalike has even converted him from a republican into a bit of a Royal Family fan.
“In Australia, the Royal Family are seen as heads of state who don’t really do much,” he explained. “But now I’ve been here a few years and seen how much people love them and how much excitement the wedding has generated, I think it’s actually quite good to have them around.
“And I can’t complain at all. I’ve already got a few tentative bookings for the wedding, including a potential TV show.
“It’s only a bit of pocket money really, not the thousands that some people think I’m earning. But it’s a lot of fun.”
- To sign Simon up for your Royal Wedding bash visit www.princewilliamlookalike.com