BALLYBOGEY woman Joan Christie has got her hands on the most sought after invitation of the year - the royal wedding.
Joan will be present as Prince William and Kate Middleton exchange vows in her capacity as Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim.
The couple will say ‘I do’ with an expected TV audience of two billion looking on.
But rather than watch the lavish ceremony from her living room, Joan will be present in Westminster Abbey as history unfolds on Friday 29 April.
The invitation was popped through Joan’s letterbox back in February and came as a complete - but wonderful - surprise
“It was a great delight and pleasure to receive the invitation and a lovely shock,” she told the Times.
“I am very much looking forward to it I must say. It is an extraordinary opportunity.”
Joan met the young couple when they visited the Province earlier this year.
“I was lucky to have met them at Greenmount and they are an absolute joy when you are in their presence,” she said.
“They are very much a couple.”
Joan said she was transfixed to the wedding between Prince Charles and Diana back in 1981 and was delighted to see so many people entering into the spirit this time around.
Asked if she had picked out a special outfit for the big day, Joan joked:
“You wouldn’t expect a woman not to know what what she is wearing to a wedding which is a week away!”
But the decision as to what to get the pair to mark the occasion has been taken out of her hands.
Instead of gifts they have asked wedding guests to donate to charity and a donation is being made to a Northern Ireland based organisation on behalf of County Antrim.
Joan will head over to England this week and stay with her daughter the evening before the wedding.
Some 1,900 guests - including Joan - will be at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, more than half of which will be family and friends.
UK and foreign dignitaries, senior politicians, charity workers and celebrities like the Beckhams are said to be among those invited.
Not all the guests at the service will go on to a Buckingham Palace reception.
The service will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster, with the Archbishop of Canterbury marrying the prince and his bride.
Seated in the front pews will be the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and best man, Prince Harry.
A lot of foreign royalty, about 40 of them, will be going along.
There are about 650 people who will be invited to the reception at the palace after the service. And then of course there’s another party in the evening, including a dinner for 300 of their really close genuine friends.
Alongside them will be Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, Kate’s sister and maid of honour, Pippa, and her brother James.
The invitation which dropped through Joan’s letterbox was in the form of a white card gilded with gold in a pale brown envelope.
The Queen’s initials are die-stamped in gold on the card below a crown.
It reads: “The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by the Queen to invite [name] to the marriage of his Royal Highness Prince William of Wales KG with Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on Friday 29 April 2011 at 11.00am.”
The dress requirements are given as “uniform, morning coat or lounge suit”