Birthday wishes come early to royal

Last updated 05:00 12/11/2012
Fairfax NZ

The Prince and Duchess meet New Zealand veterans at the Auckland Museum.

Royals at Armistice Day commemorations

Prince Charles enjoys a moment with a Kiwi veteran from the British Airborne Forces during the Armistice Day commemorations outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Prince Charles enjoys a moment with a Kiwi veteran from the British Airborne Forces during the Armistice Day commemorations outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

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Former paratrooper Ron Cossins, 90, made the most of giving Prince Charles an early birthday greeting.

"He asked me how old I was," Cossins said after their meeting at an Armistice Day ceremony in Auckland yesterday.

"I said I used to serve with your father, you know, then I wished him a happy birthday for the 14th. He said thank you for remembering. He seemed quite chuffed."

Cossins served in the Fifth (Scottish) Parachute Battalion during World War II, and was in the Mediterranean at the same time as Prince Charles' father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was in the Royal Navy.

"We're six months apart in age," he said. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, at left, were attending the first major event of the New Zealand leg of their Pacific tour for the Queen's diamond jubilee year.

Paremata resident Frank Clark, another airborne serviceman in the British Army from 1956, said it was great to meet his first royal.

"I found it very moving. It was a very good day."

The prince asked him when and where he had served and was "a bit taken aback" when Clark told him he had completed his training more than 50 years ago.


They will spend today in Auckland, and fly to Wellington on Wednesday.


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