North Dakota woman who exchanged birthday cards with Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96

Hankey was born on the exact same day as the Queen — April 21, 1926.

Adele Hankey.png
Adele Hankey holds some of the 70 years of letters she exchanged with Queen Elizabeth II. The two shared identical birthdays, birth years and death years. Kevin Wallevand / WDAY News
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PARK RIVER, N.D. — A northeast North Dakota woman who spent more than six decades as pen pals with the late Queen Elizabeth II has died.

Adele Hankey, of Park River, North Dakota, died this week. She was 96.

Hankey was born on the exact same day as the Queen — April 21, 1926.

Hankey had received a birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II every year since 1952. She received her first card after sending her one to congratulate her on becoming reigning monarch and to wish her happy birthday, the Herald reported in 2020. The pair also exchanged photos throughout the years.

When Queen Elizabeth died earlier this month , Hankey told WDAY that she was going to miss the letters.


"Pen pal, that's what I call her, and I am going to miss that," Hankey said earlier this month. "She became queen in 1952, and I wrote her and congratulated her, and she sent back a birthday card, so I sent her one, and it has been going like that since."

And the two also exchanged notes about their shared love of a fruit spread.

"I liked the jelly she put on bread because it was the same as mine," Hankey told WDAY earlier this month. "It was orange marmalade, and she had written that back in one of her cards."

Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8. A document published by the National Records of Scotland on Thursday, Sept. 29 listed the queen's cause of death as 'old age.' She was 96.

Hankey had been hospitalized in Grand Forks prior to her death and funeral arrangements are pending, WDAY reports.

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