My right ROYAL tribute
Queen when she was here in 1953 to take back to Princess Anne for her dolls. Wanting to know what had happened to it, I was about to write a letter to Princess Anne to ask, when this English gentleman turned up at the café. He took one look around and in a very, very posh voice said, ‘Now I don’t want you to get too excited, but I happen to be very closely related to one of the royal family.’ I almost mimicked him back because I thought he was pulling my leg. It turned out he is the cousin of Tim Laurence, Princess Anne’s husband. So I asked if, as a favour, he might try and find out where the pram was. He took a photo of the picture we had of Princess Anne with the pram and sent it through to Tim, but he told us it might be a while until we heard back because he was on a world tour. I had my doubts, but a few months later Buckingham Palace rang to tell me all about the pram. I don’t know his name – we were so chuffed, we forgot to get him to sign the visitor’s book. It was wonderful and I now speak to the palace quite regularly.
‘Bill and I got married two weeks before Prince William and Kate’s wedding’
We had Corogate Café for 12 years, until I got sick and had to close it. When we made the decision, I cried for three weeks – I was a real mess. We had a massive big farewell party and I cried for another four weeks. We’ve lived in Te Aroha for 18 months now. We don’t do food any more, but our house is open to the public. There’s no charge but people can make a donation, which we give to charity. We’ve got more than 8000 items from 1937 onwards, ranging from statuettes to tea sets through to medals, badges, jewellery and items the Queen has used, such as the hand-drawn menu cards from a banquet held in Hamilton. Plus, we’ve got more than 1000 books, photos and newspaper cuttings – and we’re still collecting. We’ve just received the 70th wedding commemorative plate and urn, and we often get things dropped on the doorstep. Every room – and they are big rooms – is filled with things and each of those rooms tells its own little bit of history.
The next generation of royals? I think they are fantastic; the fresh youth and personality of both Kate and William is wonderful. I’m convinced the Queen will give Charles a year as king and then it will be William’s turn – and my predictions have always been right!” As told to Julie Jacobson
Angela and Bill have more than 8000 pieces from 1937 onwards.