Putting new meaning to Royal Wedding Package

Gary and Diane Buckley sit in their home with Royal family memorabilia. The couple will soon be flying to London

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

A local couple has a chance to take in commonwealth history – in the front row.

Gary and Diane Buckley will be attending the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 29 at Westminster Abbey in England.

The couple, who have been in the media limelight in Canada for a few weeks now, managed to luck out and obtain a handicap ticket for the ceremony.

They have already done several interviews for CTV and other major news organizations and will be doing more as they arrive in England.

“We are exhausted,” said Diane during an interview at the couples’ home just north of Ponoka.

It has been a whirlwind for the couple since learning of their opportunity earlier this month.

The Buckleys’ son Randy, who lives in London, England first sent the couple plane tickets in February to cheer them up after the winter.

“I said to him, ‘Well, invite the Queen and we’ll have tea while we’re there,” said Diane.

That’s essentially what Randy did.

Their son had applied for a handicap spot in Westminster Abbey for the wedding, but was turned down due to space.

Just recently, on April 14, he received a phone call telling him that someone else had cancelled and there was space for his mother. Randy immediately called the house but got a hold of Gary. After filling his father in on the good news Randy swore Gary to secrecy about it.

When Diane received the phone call about it, she was in a local department store with her granddaughter.

“I started to cry,” said Diane. “I handed the phone to my granddaughter and said, ‘You better find out what this is all about, I think I’m going to the Royal wedding’.”

Diane’s initial thought when she found out was that she didn’t have the appropriate attire for the wedding or a proper hat, but she was soon able to find something to wear.

Diane will be seated outside of Westminster Abbey near the entrance to the Church.

“I’m taking my camera with me. I wish I could take my video camera but you can only run one camera at a time,” said Diane.

As for attire, the couple will be wearing their finest clothing, but Gary will be wearing a specially made cowboy hat to the wedding.

Gary, a retired Lutheran preacher, has a hat that is embroidered with ‘Canada’ and ‘Pa Buckley’ on it. When asked if he would be willing to do the service if anything should happen to the person performing the service, a quick-witted Diane replied, “Nope. Especially not with that cowboy hat on.”

Diane’s fascination with the Royal Family started at the age of 11 when she received some books from her Aunt for Christmas.

That’s not where the collecting ended though. Years later, Diane was at an auction and purchased a suitcase full of Royal Family memorabilia – for $15.

“I lucked out,” said Diane. “I would like to take it to Antiques Road Show and get it checked out.”

Diane also comes from an English background and feels a connection to the Monarchy.

Her father emigrated from England to Canada at a young age and she has been interested in learning about her family history since early in her life.

One of Diane’s goals for the trip is to add to her memorabilia collection by purchasing a few postcards with Royal heads on them. She had started her collection and hopes to complete it.

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