Three decades of corresponding with royal family
Cornwall, Ont., resident Lois McCartney, shown here displaying some of the correspondence she has had with the royal family, will join an estimated 2 billion people around the world in watching Friday's royal wedding.
CORNWALL, Ont. - Lois McCartney will join an estimated two billion people around the world in watching Friday's royal wedding.
McCartney, 77, says she's planning on rising at around early to watch the highly-anticipated nuptials.
"It's always been a fascination with me," she says with a laugh.
She recalls rising early for Princess Diana and Prince Charles' 1981 wedding.
"I watched the whole wedding," she said. "I watched her funeral, too. It was very sad."
McCartney has reason for her excitement about Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding: She has been corresponding with the royal family since 1978.
McCartney has sent letters to Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother, Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Princess Ann.
"I just sent a letter to Queen Elizabeth for her 85th birthday on April 21," McCartney said. "I also sent one in to the couple (William and Kate)."
McCartney has written 16 letters and has received 16 replies from royal family members. The responses come from Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace and Clarence House. The letters are all signed by ladies in waiting, and are sent from Buckingham Palace with stamps on the outer envelope. The letters also contain the queen's insignia, and the palace area code, McCartney said.
McCartney has sent cards for birthdays, anniversaries, deaths and jubilee celebrations. She sent a card when Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles married and when Princess Margaret passed away.
"I did sent one to Princess Di and Prince Charles, but the post office went on strike the day after I mailed it," she recalls.
She didn't expect a response for the first letter she wrote, but when it did come, McCartney says she was encouraged to keep writing.
In addition to her collection of letters, McCartney has also gathered a selection of books on the famous family. She also owns a mug commemorating the coronation of the queen.
McCartney says she's not sure why she's fascinated by the family, but that her attraction stems from the then-Princess Elizabeth's 1947 trip through Cornwall in eastern Ontario.
"My mom and I were there to see her," recalls McCartney. "When she opened the seaway, as a queen, I saw her, too."
And, in May 2001, McCartney was able to see the bits and pieces of the family's life up close and centre, when McCartney and her daughter travelled to London for one week.
"We were within 20 feet of within the Queen Mom when she passed by in her Rolls Royce," recalls McCartney. "She waved at us."
The duo visited Buckingham Place, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court.
"It was the generosity of my daughter –– she wanted me to go while I was still able to," says McCartney. "We really enjoyed it. It was a trip of a lifetime."