Royal invitation

18:47, Oct 30 2012
Prince Charles
BIRTHDAY BOY: Rosehill College teacher Howard Aitchison will be partying with Prince Charles on his birthday.

Howard Aitchison lived in Britain for most of his life but never met a member of the royal family.

So he and his wife certainly didn't expect to be invited to party with the Prince of Wales after they moved to New Zealand.

But on November 14, when the prince turns 64 and the Rosehill College teacher turns 48, they will celebrate their birthdays together.

Prince Charles
I SEE YOU: Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting New Zealand as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will be visiting from November 10 to November 16 as part of the year-long celebrations to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, who also shares the prince's birthday, came up with the idea of a randomly-drawn competition for 64 New Zealanders born on November 14 to attend Prince Charles' birthday party at Government House in Wellington.

More than 1500 people put their names forward including hundreds who were not born on November 14.


Mr Aitchison, who hails from Edinburgh in Scotland, always knew he shared the prince's birthday but it was his wife Linda who entered him in the draw.

The Takanini resident paid little attention when his wife told him to sign an entry form and wasn't expecting to win but thought "we should check the post for an invite just in case", he laughs.

He was one of 63 Kiwis randomly picked to attend the party, as well as one 101-year-old who was specially chosen.

Mr Aitchison is not a royalist although he says Prince Charles "seems a nice enough chap".

But he has always admired the prince's views on the environment - something he'll be sure to bring up if they get chatting.

"I'm quite interested in his views on green politics.

"His organic gardening is fantastic," Mr Aitchison says.

"His house has its own waste disposal system that's completely organic - that's years ahead of its time."

All applicants who met the criteria will receive a birthday card from the prince and the governor-general to thank them for their interest in the royal visit.

Guests must pay for their own accommodation and travel.

Papakura Courier