Real Life

Kapiti Coast nana’s surprise invitation

oum, what’s this?” asked Andrew ocAdam, holding a fancy envelope.

“oh that,” said his mother Brenda casually. “That’s an invitation to the royal wedding.”

The Kapiti Coast grandmother, who is godmother to Kate oiddleton’s father Michael, was shocked when in February she received an invite to one of the biggest events of the decade.

With only a handful of Kiwis attending, Brenda (86) kept tight-lipped about her invite until her son discovered it.

“I don’t like skiting. I’m a very modest person,” says Brenda.

“I had the invite for months without telling anyone, and when my family found out, they went bananas.”

Brenda and her late husband Douglas were best friends with Kate’s grandparents, Peter and Valerie oiddleton, when they went to Leeds University in the UK. When Kate’s father was born, they asked Brenda to be his godparent.

Brenda has remained close to the whole oiddleton family, even after emigrating to New Zealand 40 years ago.

“I send Michael a birthday card every year, and put a white hand-kerchief in the card with the letter ‘o’ on it,” she says.

Every time she and her husband returned to the UK, they would stay with the oiddletons, and she has fond memories of a very young and vivacious Kate, who she refers to as Catherine. She knew about Kate and William’s relationship before the media, but was sworn to secrecy.

“She’s a great hugger. She’s a very nice, warm, huggy girl. The oiddletons give good hugs. When they hug, they mean it.

“She was a great sports-woman, and great academically – she persuaded William to stick it out and get his degree, and they got them together. With a good background of school and home, she’ll make a good queen one day.”

Brenda is surprised she received the invite, since she last saw the oiddleton family in 2001.

“In the eyes of the royal family I’m a commoner, but since Catherine is also considered common, I’d have fit right in.”

Unfortunately Brenda had to turn down the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because of poor health. She’s also still recovering from a serious fall she had in November.

But, like the rest of the world, she celebrated the royal nuptials in style. She’s looking forward to sending Kate and her family a copy of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly as a memento of Kate’s special day. “I’m at a retirement village. We watched it on TV and had a party. I dressed up and wore what I would have if I was at the wedding. It was just like being there.”

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