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Dinner with the Queen a sweet treat for Islander

Oct 26 2012
Victoria resident Lorraine Campbell is planning to take some Rogers' chocolates with her when she dines at Buckingham Palace next week. 

Victoria resident Lorraine Campbell is planning to take some Rogers' chocolates with her when she dines at Buckingham Palace next week.

Photograph by: Darren Stone , Times Colonist

A Victoria woman has a special invitation to meet the Queen next week at an intimate reception celebrating the monarch's Diamond Jubilee.

When Lorraine Campbell, 72, flies out on Monday, she'll be bringing along some Rogers' chocolates, filling a request from the Queen's page. It's not clear who the chocolates are for, but the Royal Family is reportedly very familiar with the made-in-Victoria sweets.

Invitations for the event were sent out to 200 current and former staff. The exact date of the reception can't be made public due to Buckingham Palace security issues.

Lorraine never worked for the Queen but her son did. He passed along his invitation to his mother, a lifelong Royal watcher.

"To allow me to have a ticket is just wonderful," Lorraine said Thursday.

Cory Campbell, 42, said he wanted his mother to go "because it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

"Thousands and thousands of staff have worked for the Queen, but only 200 were allowed to go," he said from his home in Scotland.

"My mom has always been a die-hard Royalist. I went to the palace when I was 10 and I had seen the Queen when I was six at Royal Roads."

In the early 1990s, Cory was the only Canadian living in Buckingham Palace, where he worked in the vault that stored the royal silver and gold items.

Lorraine's fascination with the Royal Family began in childhood. A photo of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret hung in her bedroom, and her mother woke her up to listen to a radio broadcast of the Queen's wedding.

"I have a collection of several magazines and books and the catalogue of Diana's dresses that were sold through Christie's," she said, referring to the late Princess of Wales.

Lorraine, who was born in Comox, has made several trips to London, including one for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011.

"We had Canada flags for our grandchildren ... and [Kate] came around the corner and was right in front of us," she said. "She looked right at us and we had the flags going."

Lorraine has heard all about royal receptions from Cory had his wife, Lisa, who was in charge of catering both at Buckingham Palace and on board the royal yacht Britannia.

She expects visitors will go to the "state entrance" of the palace, then leave personal effects at the cloak room before posing for a photographer.

"Then we'll go into Waterloo Chambers, where they serve orange juice, champagne, hors d'oeuvres," Lorraine said.

It won't be her first meeting with the monarch - Lorraine met her during one of the Queen's famous walkabouts in Saskatchewan about seven years ago.

"It was really amazing - I gave her flowers," Lorraine said.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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