The Stories of How 9 Special Guests Scored Royal Wedding Invites Will Make You Smile

"I opened the letter and I couldn’t believe it. We danced around"

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry greet members of the public.

(Photo: Getty)

International politicians are so 2011 (sorry, Justin Trudeau). Instead, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited a more local group of VIPs to to their highly anticipated May 19 wedding.

Staying true to their philanthropic roots, the happy couple sent out royal invites to 1,200 community leaders from all across the Commonwealth. The names of the first nine guests have been released and we have the deets. Get ready for some serious inspiration.

Pamela Anomneze

When Pamela Anomneze, 52, found out she was invited to the royal wedding she thought she was being pranked. However, her hard work as the manager of Studio 306 Collective CIC, a not-for-profit organization based in London, England, earned her the invite. According to the organization’s website, it helps underprivileged youth by providing a creative space for those who are recovering from mental illness. Community members can flex their creative muscles and create a variety cute of jewelry or ceramic, textile and screen-printed products. Anomneze has been involved with the organization for 11 years.

Catherine Cooke & Julie-Ann Coll

Catherine Cooke, 53, is involved with a women’s support group called the Foyle Women’s Information Network. She received her royal invite just hours after her daughter, Julie-Ann Coll, who was invited because of her work with with Life After Loss, a UK charity that provides support for families who have lost a baby. Coll joined the charity after losing her own baby. We think a royal wedding is the perfect place for a mother-daughter date!

Faith Dickinson

The only Canadian on the list, Faith Dickinson, 15, started the project Cuddles for Cancer, which has created more than 3,500 blankets for patients with cancer. She recently won a Diana Award, named in honour of the late Princess of Wales, for young people who are changing the world through, “kindness, compassion and service.” Dickinson started Cuddles for Cancer when she was nine after her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has since expanded her original goal to offer comfy blankets to people dealing with other illnesses and diseases, such as pneumonia or kidney disease, as well as their caregivers. This inspiring young lady, who lives in Peterborough, Ont., has also raised more than $30,000 to have the blankets delivered all over the world. The charitable royals are paying for Dickinson’s flight, as well as three nights in a London-based hotel during the wedding.

Kai Fletcher

Kai Fletcher‘s invite took him by surprise, but the teen says he looks forward to attending the high-profile event. Fletcher, who experienced a troubled and unstable childhood in the foster care system, now works closely with the Southside Charity in Bath to help other young people who have suffered through similar family issues. In 2017, the 18-year-old won the Heart of Bath Young Person of the Year award, which recognizes young people who have made a “significant difference to Bath.” Fletcher is bringing his sister as his plus-one to the wedding.

Jorja Furze

Jorja Furze, 12, is an ambassador for Steel Bones, a charity in the UK that provides support services to people dealing with amputations, including therapy, personal training and career opportunities. Furze, who was born with one leg, won a Child of Achievement award, which is given to young people who have “demonstrated exceptional achievement in their lives.” The inspiring young lady says she looks forward to going dress shopping with her mother Gabrielle!

Phillip Gillespie

Phillip Gillespie, 30, is a retired soldier with the The Royal Irish Regiment. While on assignment in Afghanistan in 2010, Gillespie lost his leg in an IED incident. He was 22. He now works with ABF The Soldier’s Charity, established in 1944, to raise both funds and awareness to help the families of veterans.  According to The Soldier’s Charity website, the organization helps families who are in need of financial or emotional assistance by offering grants, as well as emotional support. Although Gillespie says it is a “massive privilege” to attend the royal wedding, he says that his girlfriend, Kirsty, has received better reactions to the news than he has. “I think Kirsty has got more of a reaction, I think it is more of a girl thing,” he told BBC.

Reuben Litherland

Derby resident Reuben Litherland, 14, has been deaf his entire life. He spends his lunchtime at school teaching other children sign language. This inspiring teen also campaigns for deaf-friendly movie screenings in his community. He was understandably excited once he learned he was going to the wedding. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I opened the letter and I couldn’t believe it. We danced around,” he told the Derby Telegraph.

Amelia Thompson

Twelve-year-old Amelia Thompson was in attendance at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that became the target of a terrorist attack that killed 22 people. Like Pamela Anomneze, Thompson thought the invite was a joke, but was speechless once she realized it was real. She decided to give her spare ticket to Sharon Goodman, the grandmother of 15-year-old Olivia Campbell-Hardy, who tragically died during the attack.

Amy Wright

At only 26, Amy Wright is chair of the board of directors for The Usual Place Community Cafe. The cafe helps young people between the ages of 16 and 25 gain confidence and transferable skills in the workplace. Amy will be representing the rest of The Usual Place’s charitable staff, along with Heather Hall, who is the chief executive of the cafe.


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