Angelique Rewiti and her son, Isaiah, 6 months, with the photo of her, aged 8, with Diana, Princess of Wales in Auckland in 1983. Photo / Mark Mitchell
It was more than 30 years ago but Angelique Reweti still vividly remembers the moment she met a young Diana, Princess of Wales.
At the time Mrs Reweti was an 8-year-old dancer in a production of the New Zealand Ballet’s Coppelia, which Diana and her husband attended at Auckland’s St James Theatre.
Being chosen to deliver a bouquet of flowers to the Princess was the thrill of a lifetime.
“It is still really fresh in my memory,” recalled Mrs Reweti, 39.
“I remember all the TV cameras and photographers … she was a real Princess, and when you are an 8-year-old, that’s the stuff of fairytales.
“She was wearing the most beautiful lilac gown and she glided in on the red carpet. It was literally like a fairytale coming to life.”
Mrs Reweti spoke to the Herald with her six-month-old son on her knee. Now working in Maori health, she and her husband have settled in Palmerston North.
“I went up and had to do a little curtsy, and I couldn’t believe she was speaking to me. It seemed to me like she had the voice of an angel.
“She just said, ‘Are you dancing tonight?’. I said yes I was, and she said she was looking forward to seeing me dance. And I remember Prince Charles was standing by her side, but I was more enthralled with Princess Diana.”
The St James is now boarded-up in a state of disrepair. In 1983 the theatre’s management had worked furiously to attempt to rid the venue of the after-effects of vandalism the day before the royals arrival. Foul-smelling liquid had been spilled throughout the theatre.
“I remember the smell, it smelled of rotten fish,” Mrs Reweti said. “Security was really tight.”
A baby to care for means it’s unlikely Mrs Reweti will get to see the next generation of royals.
“It really was a big deal back then. I think people are interested now, but it’s not quite the same,” Mrs Reweti said. “It was huge, I remember we had time off school and all the schoolchildren were waving in the streets.”