Upper Hutt Leader
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall didn't include Upper Hutt in their visit to the region last week but several locals had a very special time meeting them in Wellington.
Last Wednesday, November 14, was the prince's 64th birthday and Stephanie Cottrill took her children Olivia, who turned 10 that day, James, and their friend Tylah Brown to Wellington.
They were only hoping for a glimpse of the royals on their waterfront walkabout, but all four met the royal couple.
Mrs Cottrill said the children got a good spot in the front row of the crowd at Frank Kitts Park.
Then the royal couple came towards them.
Prince Charles greeted Tylah first. He shook James' hand and then Olivia's.
Olivia said "Happy birthday Prince Charles, it's my birthday too," and he replied "Well, congratulations to you". Next they all shook hands with the duchess.
She commented on James' smart clothes (a military-styled outfit).
James said "Hello Duchess" and she replied, "Aren't you an adorable young man".
Olivia and Tylah thought that was "quite sweet".
It was all very exciting and the duchess looked "very pretty", Olivia said.
Mrs Cottrill said: "They only shake the ends of your fingers but they look you right in the eye, and make you feel very special. It was worth the wait."
Later in the day Silverstream resident and 2012 New Year honours list recipient Clare Derby attended a function for Wellington women at Government House and gave the duchess a photo of her son and Tom Parker-Bowles taken when he visited Upper Hutt nine years ago.
The photo was taken in December 2003 at Kaitoke Regional Park, near the site that became Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Mr Parker-Bowles, a journalist, food writer and columnist with an interest in film reviews, was given a tour of the Lord of the Rings sites in Upper Hutt by then-city promotion manager Paul Lambert.
The photos were taken by Upper Hutt i-SITE staff member at the time, Christine O'Leary, who shares her birthday with Prince Charles.
With Mrs O'Leary's blessing, a copy of the photo was supplied to Mrs Derby from the Upper Hutt Leader's archives.
Mrs Derby included a letter about the photo and a copy of the paper's article about the 2003 visit and, according to protocol, handed it to the aide-de-camp ahead of meeting the duchess.
There were about 20 women at the function last Wednesday afternoon.
Mrs Derby was impressed the duchess knew of her contribution to music in the community and asked her about it.
- Upper Hutt Leader