Northern Regional College Student Gets Invite to Royal Wedding


Northern Regional College student Ross McMullan (20) from Ballymoney knows exactly what he’ll be doing on Saturday May 19. He’ll be mingling with the other lucky guests who received a prized invitation to the grounds of Windsor Castle to celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle. Ross, who is a past pupil of Sandleford School in Coleraine is a LifeSkills student at the College’s Ballymoney Campus where he studies a range of subjects, including IT, Cookery and Health and Safety.

His mum Stephanie, who is going to Windsor Castle with him as his ‘plus one’ says that Ross, who is autistic, has always been an ardent Royal watcher.

 “From he was no age, Ross was fascinated by the Royals. He has a huge collection of Royal memorabilia so he was absolutely thrilled to get an invitation,” she says.

 When Prince Harry and Megan Markle announced that they wanted to share their special day with people “from every corner of the United Kingdom”, the nine regional Lord Lieutenants - the queen’s personal representatives in the UK - were asked to nominate people from a broad range of backgrounds and ages.

 Stephanie continues: “Ross was nominated to attend the Royal Wedding by Joan Christie, Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, who is one of the governors of Sandleford School.

 “She knew all about Ross and his fundraising activities while he was at Sandleford and how he was a keen follower of the Royal Family so she realised he would be someone who would truly treasure and appreciate an invitation.

 “Ross received a letter from the Lord Lieutenant’s office last month asking him to confirm if he could attend on May 19 and just this week, his official invitation arrived in the post.”

 The invitation will allow Ross and Stephanie into the grounds of Windsor Castle where they'll be able to watch the bride and groom and their wedding guests arrive for the ceremony in St George’s Chapel. After the ceremony, they'll have a good vantage point to watch the carriage procession as it winds its way after the service to Windsor Castle for the reception.

 Stephanie says that as soon as Ross got the letter from the Lord Lieutenant’s office, they booked their flights and got hotel accommodation sorted.

 “Although we're staying quite close to Windsor Castle and the wedding isn’t until midday, we've booked a taxi for 8 o’clock. We want get there in plenty of time to savour every single moment of the day.”

 Ross is not the first member of his family to get a royal invitation. His grandmother, Irene Bennett received a MBE in 2003 for services to music.

 With the countdown to the big day now well underway, Samantha Dobbins, one of Ross's tutors at Northern Regional College, says his classmates are getting caught up in excitement.

 “There’s been plenty of talk in class. Ross is a lovely, well-mannered young man. We are all very proud of him and so pleased that he got an invitation because we know it means so much to him.

“We hope he has a wonderful day and look forward to hearing all about it when he gets back.”


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