BERKELEY, N.J. — Everyone old enough to remember Aug. 31, 1997, has a story about their reaction to Princess Diana’s shocking death.
Joan Collict-Revilla’s story is better than most.
The 80-year-old English native of Liverpool, who has lived in the United States since 1960, told the Asbury Park Press (http://on.app.com/2wtek9Z) that she was moved to write a poem appreciating Diana’s compassion and lamenting “the light that’s gone out.” She wanted to send it to Diana’s sons, Princes William and Harry, she said, “but I didn’t because the boys were too young, too tender in age.”
So she waited 17 years, sending it shortly after Prince William, now styled the Duke of Cambridge, became a father. Three months later, in early 2014, she received an envelope marked “Royal Mail.” Inside was a letter on Kensington Palace stationery written by Claudia Spens, a personal assistant to the royal family. Addressed to “Dear Mrs. Collict,” it reads:
“The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry have asked me to thank you for your letter … and for so thoughtfully enclosing a copy of your poem.
“It was so kind of you to write as you did. Their Royal Highnesses are grateful to you for your kind words of support and have asked me to send you their warmest thanks and best wishes.”
It’s one heck of a keepsake.
“I was overjoyed,” said Collict-Revilla, a longtime Ocean County resident who moved to Berkeley in 2003. “It sounds like they read it, right? There’s no way I can know for sure.”
Like countless folks on both sides of the pond, Collict-Revilla follows the royals closely.
“It’s part of my history,” the former bookkeeper said. “A lot of people don’t like the royals and a lot of people do. I enjoy reading about them. I’ve watched all these generations of them.”
Diana, she said, was so popular because she was different.
“She was gorgeous and she had a personality. She was glamorous,” Collict-Revilla said. “Queen Elizabeth supposedly is very witty, but only the people who sit in her circle see that. But with Princess Diana, she lit up a room.
“That’s why I wrote about the light that’s gone out. It was very, very sad.”
She sees a good bit of Diana’s personality in William and Harry, which is why she reached out to them.
“They’re very nice,” she said. “I think they’re great.”
Apparently, the feeling is mutual.
Information from: The Asbury Park Press, www.app.com
Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, http://www.app.com