Kiwis invited to party with Prince Charles

By Hana Garrett-Walker, Matthew Backhouse

New Zealanders who share Prince Charles' birthday will have the chance to sit down over a white-bait fritters and celebrate with him on the day.

The Prince of Wales' 64th birthday on November 14 falls during the royal couple's five-day visit to New Zealand to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Government House in Wellington, which is hosting Charles' party, is extending invitations to 64 ordinary Kiwis whose birthdays fall on the same day.

The guests will also get to celebrate Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae's 58th birthday, which happens to fall on the same day.

Government House official secretary Niels Holm said the party was a wonderful opportunity for New Zealanders to meet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

"That the Diamond Jubilee visit includes the Prince's birthday is a happy coincidence that we couldn't simply allow to pass without marking in a special Kiwi way.

"And what better way to mark the Prince's birthday than to invite New Zealanders from a wide range of backgrounds who are also celebrating their special day to join a most memorable party."

Sir Jerry said it would be a "special event" which would start with an official welcome on the north lawn, followed by the opening of a visitor's centre on the south lawn, and end with a party inside Government House.

"We had a conversation when we were with the Prince in London earlier this year, just about the opportunities, so he's looking forward to his birthday being celebrated here, together with the Duchess, and we will also celebrate my birthday as well. But the day is for his royal highness, just so he can connect with New Zealanders in a different way."

The Government House chefs were yet to come up with a conclusive menu for the night, but Sir Jerry said some traditional New Zealand food like whitebait fritters, asparagus, and New Zealand lamb would definitely feature.

And then for desert, definitely pavlova and "good Kiwi ice cream".

Sir Jerry would not divulge what he planned to give the Prince as a birthday present, but said ``his presence is my present for the day''.

Sir Jerry anticipated that the lucky 64 people will get to share a few words with the Prince himself.

He said the Diamond Jubilee visit was a chance to recognise Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years of service to New Zealand.

"That we also have the chance to welcome the Prince of Wales and celebrate with him and the Duchess on this special day is, if you'll excuse the pun, the icing on the cake!"

People aged 18 and over who were born on November 14 are invited to apply by Wednesday, October 10, for a chance to attend the party.

The 64 chosen from the ballot will be able to bring one guest. All applicants and guests will have to pay for their own travel and accommodation in Wellington.

They are not expected to bring presents.

You can download application forms for the party with Prince Charles here.

- APNZ

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