Royal invitation a delight for couple

Ray Pinkstone and Valerie Pinkstone will be going to Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

Ray Pinkstone and Valerie Pinkstone will be going to Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

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When most people receive a call from Buckingham Palace, they assume it’s a prank call from jokers up to no good.

But when Ray Pinkstone picked up the phone, the request for an audience with the Duke of Edinburgh was genuine.

The 67-year-old former marine and his wife Valerie, 64, had already been due to attend a garden party at the Palace today in honour of his hard work for the Royal Marines Association.

But Mr Pinkstone, from Blackpool Road North, in St Annes, is now set to have an extra special day out by personally rubbing shoulders with Prince Philip.

Mr Pinkstone said: “It came out of the blue when I got the phone call.

“They’ve picked two of us from the Association out of the whole country to go to the garden party with our wives.

“It’s in recognition of the work we’ve done for the Association.

“After we meet him, we then go into the garden party.”

However, Mr Pinkstone admitted there was another member of the royal family he would rather be hobnobbing with, adding: “I think I’d rather meet Prince Harry and have a drink with him.”

The couple travelled to London yesterday by train ahead of this afternoon’s party.

Mr Pinkstone joined the Royal Marines at the age of 16 in 1961, and served in the corps for 14 years.

He served during the Aden Emergency insurgency in modern day Yemen, which began in December, 1963, with the throwing of a grenade at a gathering of British officials at Aden Airport.

The emergency escalated in 1967 and hastened the end of British rule in the territory which had begun as far back as 1839.

On November 30, 1967, British forces withdrew and the independent People’s Republic of South Yemen was proclaimed.