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100-year-old former Wren among first to receive ‘lovely’ card from the King

Ruth Park-Pearson, from Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, turned 100 on Friday and was one of the first people to receive a birthday card from the King.

23 October 2022

A former Wren who was among the first people to receive birthday cards from the King and Queen Consort said she will proudly display the greetings from the third monarch in her life.

Ruth Park-Pearson, from Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, turned 100 on Friday and was delighted when the card signed by both Charles and Camilla arrived the following day.

The greeting said: “My wife and I are so pleased to know that you celebrated your one hundredth birthday on 21st of October 2022.

“This brings our warmest congratulations and heartfelt good wishes on such a special occasion.”

The card features a photograph of the smiling royal couple, which was taken in the summer of 2018.

100th birthday cards
The message inside one of the first birthday cards celebrating 100 years of age, which have been signed by King Charles III and the Queen Consort (Aaron Chown/PA)

Charles became King on the death of his mother, the Queen, on September 8 and Mrs Park-Pearson is one of those who received birthday greetings from the new monarch this weekend.

“I was like ‘my goodness me’,” she said.

“It’s lovely because it’s got a lovely gold cord through it with a tassel on the end.

“It really is a lovely card; I shall keep it very prominent so everyone can see it.”

Glasgow-born Mrs Park-Pearson, who plans to display the card on her cabinet, served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (Wrens) during the Second World War.

Mrs Park-Pearson, who was born in Glasgow, served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (Wrens) during the Second World War when Charles’ grandfather, King George VI was on the throne.

Queen Elizabeth II reigned from 1952 until her death in September, after marking her Platinum Jubilee.

100th birthday cards
The front of one of the first birthday cards celebrating 100 years of age, which have been signed by King Charles III and the Queen Consort (Aaron Chown/PA)

During her 70-year reign, approximately 1.3 million cards were sent to mark birthdays and anniversaries across the UK, the Realms and the Overseas Territories.

Mrs Park-Pearson said: “I was serving under her father if you think about it.

“I served under him and the Queen and now it’s going to be King Charles, three monarchs shall we say, in my life.

“You don’t think about it at the time, it’s not until later you realise just sort of how old you are suddenly. You think my goodness me; I remember the old King.

“The Queen Mother was a very elegant lady.”

100th birthday cards
Ruth Park-Pearson holding one of the first 100-year-old birthday cards, which have been signed by King Charles III and the Queen Consort (Buckingham Palace/PA)

Mrs Park-Pearson, who has six children, 13 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren, celebrated her milestone birthday surrounded by family and said the special event brought them all together.

“Everybody seems to have just gelled all together, you know, the cousins haven’t seen each other for years but they all just gelled nicely together.

“Even the young great-grandchildren were happy to be with one another.

“So it was a really happy day.

“I really had a wonderful birthday I have to say.

“So many wonderful presents and flowers, I could start a flower shop almost.”

Queen Elizabeth II death
A baby Charles after his christening in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, (left to right) with King George VI, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), The Queen Mother and (standing) the Duke of Edinburgh (PA)

The tradition of sending royal messages to mark significant birthdays and anniversaries dates back to 1917 during the reign of George V, when those celebrating their 100th birthday or 60th wedding anniversary were sent a telegram of good wishes from the king.

Thousands of birthday and wedding anniversary cards are sent from Buckingham Palace every year to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter.

They are also sent to those celebrating their 60th, 65th, 70th wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter.

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