Camilla's Kiwi penpal sending congrats

DEIDRE MUSSEN
Last updated 08:16 24/07/2013
Loraine Wetherall's letter
Deidre Mussen

LETTER WRITER: Loraine Wetherall has been the penpal of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, for 16 years

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A congratulatory letter will soon be winging its way from New Zealand's West Coast to the newborn future King's step-grandma.

And it is likely to prompt a personal reply.

Greymouth 81-year-old Loraine Wetherall has been the penpal of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, for 16 years and the only everyday Kiwi to attend the London reception after her 2005 wedding to Prince Charles.

The pair have swapped letters regularly since their friendship started in 1997, when Wetherall began sending her all the positive newspaper clippings she could find about the then besieged Camilla Parker-Bowles.

At the time, she also suggested Camilla should move to Westland for a change of pace, where she could ride horses in privacy.

"She wrote back and said 'If I need a bolt hole, I'll come'."

Yesterday's news of the birth of the baby son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, landed in Wetherall's email box via another royal link.

A Wellington-based distant cousin of Camilla's sent her a message repeatedly saying "It's a boy".

Wetherall's writing pad is out ready to start a congratulatory letter to her 66-year-old penfriend and her small Greymouth home is packed with royal memorabilia.

Photos of Camilla and Prince Charles dot her lounge walls and furniture, many are Christmas cards from her royal friend and contain personal handwritten messages.

Her last correspondence from Camilla landed about six weeks ago but she looks forward to her next letter.

"I sent her a card for her birthday last week and she always writes back to thank me."

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