Orlando woman honored by Queen Elizabeth II reminisces about royal award

Justine Assal received honors for promoting British-Florida tourism

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – When you walk into Justine Assal’s home in downtown Orlando, you’ll see what’s called a “Warrant of Appointment” in one of her photos.

In the photograph, Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter, Princess Anne, is awarding Assal with royal honors for her incredible work for promoting British-Florida tourism and business.

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The ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace nearly seven years ago.

“You know Central Florida has approximately 150,000 Brits living here—this is the estimate from the British consulate—and for the past 17, 18 years, I have worked through a variety of different means to try and help expand business,” Assal said.

Assal said Elizabeth was not present that day as she was out of the country, though the certificate was still signed by her and her late husband, Prince Philip.

Assal was bestowed with the honor of an MBE, The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a membership to British nationals who contribute to the arts, sciences, charitable work and public service.

“It was listed on the New Year’s Honors List and then I went over to Buckingham Palace and that was in 2016 which was absolutely incredible,” she said.

News 6 spoke with her following Elizabeth’s passing on Thursday. She spent 70 years on the British throne.

“Just an absolutely, amazing lady that for over 70 years just put herself as a servant to the people of (the) United Kingdom,” Assal said.

Just like many, Assal said Queen Elizabeth II was the only queen she’s ever known and as we enter a new era, she said the royal honor she received will be something she will cherish for the rest of her life.

“An amazing life of service and we’re grateful for everything she’s ever done for us, and we now look forward to a new coronation and a new king,” Assal said.

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About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!