Royals to meet quake victims' families and survivors

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 14/04/2014

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A woman who fled the collapsing Canterbury Television building during the February 2011 earthquake has been touched by an invitation to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The royal couple will be at the Canterbury Television Memorial Park today to hold a special audience with families of the 185 people killed in the quake, the badly injured and survivors of building collapses.

CTV receptionist Mary-Anne Jackson received her official invitation on Thursday, and shed a few tears as she read it out.

"It's a great honour," she said of the event. I'm a bit of a royalist. I hope to buy something new to wear," she said.

Jackson would also be sure to have some tissues handy.

"It is emotional going there. It never goes away."

Prince William gained a special place in Cantabrians' hearts for his attendance at the March 2011 Earthquake Memorial Service, where he read out his grandmother's quote: "Grief is the price we pay for love".

Maurice Gardiner, whose sister Donna Manning was killed in the CTV collapse, said all the family members who could make it would attend.

"[For] the prince to come again and actually ask to be able to meet the families, and particularly to bring his wife, I think it's really really good," he said.

"It's nice to know people are still thinking about you. It's lovely. I think they genuinely care. I don't think they are playing up to the cameras.

"They recognise the city was hit really hard. Prince William is acknowledging the sheer shock and horror and the size of the quake."

THE ROYALS ARRIVE IN CHRISTCHURCH TODAY

10.35 - 10.50am: Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Ngai Tahu welcome the Royals, Christchurch City Council Building, Worcester Blvd 11.05 - 12.20pm: Events around Latimer Square:

CTV memorial park and meeting survivors and families of victims; a visit to the Transitional Cathedral; and a public walk through Latimer Square

2015 Cricket World Cup young cricketers event

12.20 - 12.50pm: Drive to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and open the visitor centre

1.15 - 2.30pm: Future Focus: Christchurch's Redevelopment lunch, including a visit to the Wall of Remembrance and the Wigram Air Force Museum.

The royal couple returns to Wellington and Government House at the end of the day.

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- Fairfax Media

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