Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's deputy chief of staff

NZ envoy among diplomatic guests

He was there just last month, standing sombrely next to Prince Charles as he paid tribute to the victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

But Friday will be a time for celebration at Westminster Abbey for the New Zealand High Commissioner to London.

The New Zealand Embassy revealed yesterday that Derek Leask, 62, is one of 1900 guests invited to the royal wedding ceremony.

But he will have to leave his partner, Trish Stevenson, at home as she has not been invited.

Names on the guest list have been slowly leaking through to the media over the past few weeks but it was not until yesterday that the royal family issued an official list of some of the guests.

Hinting at Mr Leask's invitation, St James' Palace said: "Amongst the guests at the wedding service are all heads of mission in London representing countries with which the United Kingdom has normal diplomatic relations and Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenants for the United Kingdom."

A spokeswoman for the New Zealand Embassy in London confirmed Mr Leask would be attending but his partner, Ms Stevenson, would not.

It was reported two weeks ago that hundreds of guests had not been allowed to bring their spouses.

It was also revealed by the palace yesterday that Captain Sam Stevenson, who acted as Prince William's New Zealand equerry during his visit to the country in July 2005, has also been invited.

At the time, he was a captain with the New Zealand Defence Force.

During the visit, Prince William represented the Queen in Wellington and Auckland at events to commemorate the end of World War II.

Mr Stevenson and Mr Leask join a growing list of New Zealanders who have been invited.

The Herald revealed last week that top polo player John-Paul Clarkin and former sheep shearer Gary Lewis, who is married to Lady Davina, 24th in line to the throne, will attend.

Prime Minister John Key, his wife, Bronagh, Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and his wife, Lady Susan, are also guests.

All Black captain Richie McCaw turned down an invitation to focus on Super 15 and the Rugby World Cup.

Other guests include David and Victoria Beckham, Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson, rugby legend Sir Clive Woodward, film director Guy Ritchie and singer Joss Stone.

- NZ Herald

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