During the Royal Visit 2016, 24 military families from Esquimalt had the once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to mingle and interact with the royal family during a children’s party held at the BC Government House on Thursday, Sept. 29.
One of the lucky military families members present at the party was Lauren Wakefield and her four-year-old daughter Zoey Wakefield.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We’re never going to get to be in a situation like that again,” said Wakefield.
Like the families chosen to attend the party, Wakefield’s husband, a weapons engineer technician aboard the HMCS Vancouver, is currently deployed.
The guest list was organized by the Esquimalt MFRC, who enjoys a strong partnership with the BC Government House.
“We received a call from Government House that the Royal visitors were seeking an opportunity to meet with some military families for an intimate children’s party,” said Jackie Carlé, Community Engagement Manager for the Esquimalt MFRC.
Children attending the party were from ages one to four, ensuring they were in the same age group as Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
At the party, children had the chance to enjoy a small petting zoo, balloon animals, puppet show and bubbles, while the parents mingled with one another.
The event was informal and relaxed said, Wakefield.
“I was really nervous the entire time until we got there but it was pretty informal. She [Kate Middleton] just asked me a couple of questions…they were so down to earth and so nice. It was kind of like being at a kid’s birthday party with a bunch of parents.
“I can’t stress how polite and nice they were and the kids were just perfect, they were so sweet,” noted Wakefield.
The occasion was especially significant for Wakefield, whose grandfather served on HMS Vanguard and was one of Queen Elizabeth’s escorts during her cruise to South Africa in the 1940s.
“It was kind of neat that another generation got to spend time with the royal family,” said Wakefield.
Prince William and the Duchess also had a chance to learn about the services the MFRC provides.
“Their Highnesses were very interested to learn about the Military Family Services Program, and we had a good conversation about Esquimalt MFRC programs and services,” said Carlé.