Princely party memorable

GIDDAY: Wakefield farmer John Levy and Prince Charles get acquainted.
GIDDAY: Wakefield farmer John Levy and Prince Charles get acquainted.

A "stunning once-in-a-lifetime event" was how Wakefield farmer John Levy described celebrating his birthday with Prince Charles.

"The sun was shining. Government House looked absolutely superb. The whole thing was fun.

"A lot of people were celebrating their birthdays and Prince Charles was really good to talk to," Mr Levy said.

The 63-year-old, who shares the same birthday as the prince, was one of the 64 guests who attend a Kiwi birthday for Prince Charles at Government House yesterday.

More than 1500 New Zealanders, born on the same day as the prince, applied to attend the prince's 64th birthday party, part of his royal tour to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Speaking from Wellington this morning, Mr Levy said he met the prince and spoke to him for two to three minutes. The prince was introduced to everyone and took his time, he said.

The prince was interesting, very easy to talk to and was surprised that Mr Levy was still farming at his age.

Mr Levy thanked the prince for the work he was doing as the World Ambassador for Wool.

Prince Charles told him his suit was made from New Zealand wool.

The whole day was special and there was a real buzz celebrating with others who were celebrating their birthday.

It had been wonderful to meet a whole range of people from throughout the country.

The birthday boys and girls were given a ribbon to wear.

As part of its Kiwiana-themed birthday people, New Zealand wine was served to guests, with Neudorf's Maggie's Block Pinot Gris one of three wines on the menu.

Guests were also given an individual birthday cake decorated with Kiwi themes.

Mr Levy, who attended with his partner, Pip Reeve, said he missed out on a cake decorated with a sheep, and instead took a cake with a kiwifruit on it.

He was thinking of sharing it with "the boys on the farm at smoko in the wool shed".

"It was really special. Without being a dreamer or anything, it was just a really special occasion.

"A birthday with the prince . . . pretty cool."

Neudorf general manager Ken Packer said the winery was delighted that its wine was chosen for the event.

It was the second time a Neudorf wine had been chosen for a menu at a royal event, with the Moutere chardonnay being chosen before.

Owner Judy Finn said she was not sure whether Prince Charles tried the wine, but she hoped he at least smelled it.

Mrs Finn said Maggie Horne, who owns the vineyard where the grapes were grown and is the wine's namesake, was "pretty chuffed" her namesake wine was presented to the prince.

"It was great to have a local wine on the list."