The Duchess of Cambridge has a conversation with Allora’s Laura Geitz at Saturday’s function.
The Duchess of Cambridge has a conversation with Allora’s Laura Geitz at Saturday’s function.

Rubbing shoulders with the royals

THEY might not be princesses, but five women with Southern Downs connections were lucky enough to rub shoulders with royalty in a formal reception in Brisbane on Saturday.

The women were BUSHkids Warwick staff members Helen O'Connell and Rebecca Wright, Brookvale property owner and Givit CEO Juliette Wright, Queensland Firebirds player Allora's Laura Geitz and her mother Juanita Geitz.

The group attended the Premier's Office function for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Brisbane Convention Centre, an invitation only event with just over 200 guests.

Laura, who emceed the event, said she thoroughly enjoyed the once in a lifetime opportunity.

"I was lucky enough to be introduced to William and Kate before the reception," she said.

"I had a brief chat with them."

Meeting the royals was an honour for Laura, who said she definitely had a few nerves initially.

"William and Kate were lovely," she said.

"They were warm, genuine and charming - everything you see of them."

ROYAL CONNECTION: Helen O’Connell, Juliette Wright, Laura Geitz, Juanita Geitz and Rebecca Wright were guests at a function for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Brisbane on Saturday.
ROYAL CONNECTION: Helen O’Connell, Juliette Wright, Laura Geitz, Juanita Geitz and Rebecca Wright were guests at a function for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Brisbane on Saturday.

 

Juliette was also lucky enough to have some one-on-one time with the royal couple, who were in Brisbane as part of a whirlwind tour of the country.

"It was amazing to meet them - a really once in a lifetime experience," she said.

"The length of time they spoke to everybody was amazing -we got to talk to them for two or three minutes each.

"It was pretty special - they really spent time talking to us."

Juliette said she spoke to the Duke first, who was very interested in hearing about the aftermath of Cyclone Ita.

"He was curious about how people in North Qd were coping after the cyclone," she said

"I told him about the situation in Cooktown and surrounding areas.

"He was really nice and happy - it was lovely to talk to him."

The CEO and founder of grassroots charity Givit was then introduced to the Duchess by premier Campbell Newman.

"She asked about my charity - it was very special," she said.

"Kate is even more radiant up close - she was lovely."

The invitation to attend the event was particularly special for BUSHkids Warwick occupational therapist Helen O'Connell and BUSHkids Warwick psychologist Rebecca Wright, who were selected after Government House invited BUSHkids employees to the function.

Rebecca said the day was a surreal - an amazing experience.

"Penelope Wensley introduced us to William and we shook his hand," she said.

"It was very amazing."

The event was reportedly very formal, with a string quartet and fine dining.

"Laura did an amazing job as emcee," Juliette said.

Regional Queensland producers also got their share of royal action, with the reception menu featuring Warwick lamb loin with Stanthorpe apple jelly and Stanthorpe's Symphony Hill Wines' 2008 Reserve Shiraz.

Royal menu

Warwick Lamb Loin, Crisp Brioche Toast, Beetroot & Stanthorpe Apple Jelly

Lockyer Valley Cucumber Sandwiches with Baby Mustard Cress

Pithivier of Rathdowney Chicken Confit, Pear & Chestnuts

Lockyer Valley Mushrooms, Chives, Pink Salt, White Truffle Oil, Pastry Tart

Desserts

Pineapple and Macadamia Nut Crunch, Rum & Ginger Jelly

Mini Tropical Queensland Fruit Tarts

Coffee and Tea



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