Seeing the Duchess of Cambridge up close would be an unforgettable experience for any fan – but for Canadian youngster Madelyne Honcharuk, that first glimpse was just the start of the royal encounter of a lifetime.
The 10-year-old Vancouver resident and her mother, Heather Mackenzie, headed to Jack Poole Plaza on Sept. 25 during the Cambridges' royal tour of Canada, hoping to present Kate with a bouquet – and were amazed when she picked Madelyne out of the crowd. "I probably will remember that whole day for the rest of my life," the fifth grader says.
Madelyne and her mother say Hello! Canada actually played a pivotal role in the magical moment. The crowds were so thick that the girl, a longtime monarchist who collects fascinators, had no chance of standing out. But when Hello! Canada stopped to photograph her, people took notice and helped her get to the front, where Prince William and Kate were about to pass by. "You could feel the excitement rippling through the crowd," she recalls.
The Duchess of Cambridge was immediately drawn to Madelyne, who handed her the flowers. “Your Royal Highness, you are so beautiful,” she said. A beaming Kate replied, “Darling, you are so beautiful.” She then complimented the girl’s lavender hairpiece and called William over to say "hello." "I was awestruck," Madelyne says.
But the thrills didn’t end there. Madelyne, a Girl Guide and ringette player, had attached a letter to the bouquet.
"I live in Vancouver and I am very proud of my city. I hope that you will love your visit here and that this trip will be the start of a happy memory for Prince George and Princess Charlotte who are both so adorable," she wrote.
After expressing her admiration for the Royal Family’s public service work and writing about her own family’s volunteer efforts, Madelyne concluded: "Please wish Her Majesty a very happy 90th birthday and tell her she is super-cool."
Recently, she was amazed to receive a reply from Kensington Palace, saying that the duke and duchess had been "immensely touched" by her note and were "interested to learn all about you and the things you like to do."
"It meant the world," Madelyne tells us. Her proud mother agrees. "Madelyne has a beautiful heart and she thinks about the world deeply," Heather says. "She sees Kate as a role model. She sincerely admires her, – not just because she’s glamorous and a real-life princess, but because she’s making the world a better place."