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Family and friends share hearbreak after the death of Tudor World actor Kingsely Glover, aged 39

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Family and friends have shared their heartbreak over the loss of Kingsley Edward Tudor Glover after his sudden death earlier this month, aged 39.

The actor had worked at Tudor World as one of the resident Shakespeares since 2011, and his happy face and comic flamboyance were familiar to many around Stratford. His many friends say they will remember him for his immense kindness, intelligence and humour.

Kingsley became ill in autumn 2020 and went home to live with his parents Sandy and David in Reading. Doctors failed to detect that he had had a heart attack, and ill health plagued him until a year later when heart problems were eventually diagnosed. Sadly, he died just before he was due to have open heart surgery.

Kingsley Glover (54636085)
Kingsley Glover (54636085)

Remembering how Kingsley joined Tudor World, owner Janet Ford said: “When in 2011 we were looking for a Shakespeare tour guide we interviewed many people. But as soon as Kingsley walked in the door, we knew he was perfect. He was charming and talented and lit up the room. He became the face of Shakespeare for many people.”

During his time as Shakespeare he met Olympian James Roe, opened the town’s gold post boxes, appeared on the Monopoly box for the Stratford edition and even officiated at weddings.

Both Kingsley’s parents are actors, and ran the Rep College Drama School in Purley-on-Thames. After studying there Kingsley worked with touring drama companies, going round Europe.

His mum Sandy told the Herald: “He enjoyed being Shakespeare very much and got very deep into it, and so much so that if people asked random questions such as ‘what did Shakespeare eat for breakfast?’ – he would answer them, as Shakespeare. He did a lot of research on it, bless him.”

Kingsley Glover (54636070)
Kingsley Glover (54636070)

Kingsley wasn’t limited to just playing Shakespeare. Janet recalled: “He could of course play it all from young to old – including more recently Father Christmas at Lapland UK. Nor did he have to be in costume to stand out in a crowd.

“His usual garb was often more colourful and outlandish than any costume. He would wear various eye-catching hats. He liked colourful shirts and waistcoats, long coats and lots of silver rings on his fingers. This would all be topped by his amazing red hair and beard to complete a truly unique figure.”

That uniqueness is remembered by his mum too, Sandy said: “He was a total eccentric, he never towed the line and always wore outrageous clothes and stupid hats. He loved all that, Kingsley was a one-off really.”

Janet recalls that he particularly enjoyed the Shakespeare Birthday Parade each year, where he would entertain the crowds, but says he would have equally dazzled on the big screen or RSC stage.

Kingsley’s lineage, denoted by the Tudor name, dates back to Elizabeth I. He could also boast of a more recent royal link, having kissed the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton, when he was in a play with her at school many years ago.

Kingsley Glover meeting James Roe
Kingsley Glover meeting James Roe

Janet added: “Kingsley was related to great historical characters and played an historical character with the greatness it deserved. His greatest character was of course his own. He will be immensely missed by anyone that was lucky enough to know him. There will never be another Kingsley.”

Poignantly dad David shared the news of his son’s death while he himself was hospitalised, from a lung and colon infection. Posting on Facebook, he said: “Here I am in the Royal Berkshire hospital and, a bit difficult to take, but Kingsley is here too in the mortuary.”

Describing their sense of loss as “horrendous”, Sandy said: “David is in pain and can’t get out of bed, so I visit and we have a little weep together.”

She continued: “Kingsley was born at the Royal Berks in the maternity ward and ironically the mortuary is in the cellar under maternity. He’s gone full circle.

Kingsley Glover (54636066)
Kingsley Glover (54636066)

“He was an absolutely gorgeous baby and so well behaved and smiling, never any trouble. All I can think of is how I adored him, and how nice he was.

“He clicked with everyone. He was such a comfort to me, I can’t tell you, it’s a horrendous loss.”

What makes the couple’s grief especially raw is their belief that Kingsley could still be with them had he received appropriate treatment earlier.

“We are absolutely appalled by the way he was treated in the last year,” Sandy said. “He was more or less dismissed and told there’s nothing more we can do for you.

“The pandemic is not an acceptable excuse. There was one particular doctor who just prescribed pain killers and he even had teeth out looking for a solution. You can imagine the frustration that Kingsley was in.

“He could have still been with us if he’d been seen earlier. We are going to try and take our case further.”

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