An elderly couple say they feel “privileged” to receive one of the last hand-signed cards from the Queen.
Tricia Pont, 81, and her husband Ray, 84, opened the message on their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday, the day Her Majesty died.
Thrilled by the special gesture, they then set out for a celebratory meal.
But when they returned home, news broke that Britain had lost its monarch of 70 years.
The devastated couple, from Godalming in Surrey, say they will now treasure her words forever.
Revealing they were both moved to tears by the news, Ray said: “It makes the card even more precious and poignant as we were one of the last people to get mail from it.
“We are big supporters of her, she is a great role model for the whole nation and she was admired for her stoicism. She was really dedicated.’
All couples who reach their diamond wedding anniversary can receive a congratulatory card from the country’s monarch, now King Charles III.
Pictures show the card has a smiling picture of the former head of state, whose marriage to Prince Philip lasted 73 years.
He says: “I am so happy to know that you are celebrating your diamond wedding anniversary on September 8, 2022.
“I send you my congratulations and best wishes on such a special occasion.”
Ray, a retired surveyor, said he and his wife were “delighted” and “so excited to open it”.
“I thought it would be such a beautiful moment for our family,” she said.
“Then we went to lunch together and when we were there my phone pinged, they told us we had to look online as something was wrong with the Queen. Apparently, that bought the darkness to our lunch.’
The couple had a day full of “mixed emotions” as they happily watched their granddaughter’s graduation in the afternoon, but later learned of the Queen’s death while watching TV.
Tricia, who worked at Citizens Advice, was lucky enough to see the Queen on several occasions.
As a child, he was taken to London on the night of the Queen’s wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947.
She also saw the monarch at a garden party for the Girl Guides Association in the late 1990s.
“The Queen was simply charming. I didn’t get to talk to her, but she was lovely and sparkling,” he said.
“I feel very privileged to have had contact with Her Majesty.”
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