When Woodville's Dorothy Johnstone saw Kate Middleton's wedding to Prince William on television, she could hardly believe her eyes.
"I said: she's got my dress!"
The 72-year-old royal-watcher was so excited by the similarity of the Duchess of Cambridge's dress to the one she wore at her own 1960 wedding to husband Dave, she dashed off a letter and photo to Clarence House in London.
Last September, a letter with the royal seal arrived, from the office of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
It read: "Her Royal Highness wanted me to tell you how lovely you looked in your wedding dress, in the photo you kindly sent – the style of the dress does indeed look similar to that worn by Her Royal Highness."
A colour wedding photo of the Duke and Duchess was enclosed.
The "royal" wedding gown, a tiny size 6, will feature at Palmerston North's Square Affair retro festival during Easter weekend.
It will be modelled by one of several former Miss Manawatu winners at The Coachman Hotel.
Mrs Johnstone's dress, made in Dannevirke by a professional dressmaker, was designed with a modest V-neck lace bodice and lace sleeves.
"I'm a lace person, I wanted lots of lace," Mrs Johnstone said.
"But the skirt had to be tulle with lace panels, because all-over lace would have been too expensive."
Both brides shared another similarity, their slenderness, although Mrs Johnstone is much shorter than the duchess.
"My maiden name was Dorothy Little, so I was called Little Dot," she said.
There are more royal parallels in Mrs Johnstone's family.
Her birthday, November 13, falls the day before Prince Charles'.
Mrs Johnstone's mother has the same birthday as the Duchess of Cambridge – January 9.
Mrs Johnstone's older daughter, Christine, has the same birthday and birth year as Princess Diana – July 1, 1961.
As for Dave Johnstone, he said he was really chuffed about the wedding-dress coincidence "but I don't have any royal connections".
The couple, both originally from Dannevirke country districts Te Rehunga and Maharahara, knew each other from school, but met properly at the Dannevirke A&P dance in 1957.
"We were just two 17-year-olds," Mr Johnstone said.
After their wedding 52 years ago, they moved to Woodville, and went into dairy farming.
The dress, folded into a plastic bag, was stored away in Mrs Johnstone's boarding-school suitcase for many years.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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