King’s medal and a card from the Queen for Edith

Edith Maybee celebrates her 100th birthday.
Edith Maybee celebrates her 100th birthday.

From broken bones to new beginnings

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It’s King George VI everyone is talking about thanks to the success of the film which tells his life story.

But while Hampshire actor Colin Firth has just won an Oscar for his portrayal of the stammering monarch in The King’s Speech, Edith Maybee was one of the lucky few who actually got to meet him.

And as Edith celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday, the medal he presented to her in 1947 was given pride of place at her party.

Edith was awarded the Imperial Service medal from the King in recognition of the work she’d done as an upholstress during the Second World War.

Her niece, Eileen Woolley, explains: ‘Edith was born in Southsea and has lived here all her life.

‘She started work when she was quite young and she was a dress maker. When the war started she went into the dockyard and she became an upholstress.

‘She did a lot of work on the ships, doing curtains and cushions, and worked particularly on the Royal Yacht.’

Staff at the Southsea residential home where Edith now lives organised a party for her to mark her 100th birthday.

As well as flowers and messages of congratulations, Edith also had a card from King George VI’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

‘Edith’s been at Oakland Grange for about five years now and she’s been very well looked after, they are very kind to her and tried to make her birthday memorable,’ says Eileen.

‘She had a lovely cake and has been a bit over-awed.’

As well as her interesting past as an upholster, Edith also managed to travel a lot in her younger days.

‘Being a single lady she was able to go abroad quite a lot, even though these were the days when women didn’t really do that sort of thing,’ adds Eileen.

‘She’s been to most of the countries in Europe and also to Canada, she’s had a very good life.’