My right ROYAL trib­ute

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - WEEKLY PEOPLE -

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.

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