Barking great-grandmother celebrates with Prince Charles at 70th birthday party
PUBLISHED: 12:08 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:08 19 November 2018
A great-grandmother from Barking has partied with Prince Charles at his 70th birthday bash.
Terry O’Connell, of Cromwell Lodge, shook the heir to the throne’s hand as he mingled with guests at the Spencer House event on Wednesday.
“It was lovely and an honour to be there. It was a chance in a lifetime,” Terry said.
The retired insurance clerk was invited after her daughter, Rosemary, 48, and granddaughter, Charlotte, 24, entered her in a competition to attend the party organised by The Sun newspaper.
The invites were extended to 70 people who, like Charles, celebrated their 70th year in 2018 and who were active in their communities.
But Terry – a warden at St Patrick’s Church in Blake Avenue, Barking, with husband Michael – didn’t know her family had put her name forward.
“It was just overwhelming to be chosen,” Terry said before describing the moment she met Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest.
“He said, ‘Well done on what you do for the community’. He’s so different in real life compared to when you see him on TV. He is so caring.”
Terry listened as the prince delivered a speech in which he thanked everyone for coming to celebrate his big day.
The happy guests enjoyed finger sandwiches, chocolate cakes, fruit tarts and macaroons washed down with champagne at the grand 18th century mansion near Green Park.
“The house was absolutely marvellous. It was beautiful with pictures on the walls, lovely carpet and chandeliers. But I wouldn’t like to do the cleaning in there,” Terry said.
The 70 winners from up and down the country sang happy birthday in front of the prince and his wife Camilla.
“There was a really friendly atmosphere,” Terry said.
But the prince’s party wasn’t Terry’s first brush with royalty, having attended the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday celebration in 2000.
Terry, asked about the prince’s sometimes controversial views, said everyone should have a right to voice their opinion.
And Terry’s view was that the prince deserves a thumbs up: “He does a great job. We are so lucky that we have a royal family.”