Duchess says she read Anne of Green Gables as a girl

Dave Stewart
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chat with Anne of Green Gables actress Tess Benger and Kris Tusler who plays Matthew in the musical..

The Duchess of Cambridge really is a fan of Anne of Green Gables.

Tess Benger, the actress who portrays Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables - The Musical, was positively beaming after meeting Kate during the Dalvay by the Sea portion of the Royal visit on Monday.

Benger said Kate read the novel when she was eight years old and would someday like to see the musical at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown.

Benger had the honour of meeting the Duke and Duchess and presenting Kate with a copy of the book.

“Kate said she wished she could have seen (the play in Charlottetown) but, I mean, they’re on the go constantly,’’ Benger said.

“I gave her a copy of the book and she said she’s excited to read it again because she read it when she was a kid and she’s going to read it again.’’

Benger also confirmed what so many people who have had the chance to meet William and Kate have conveyed — just how down to earth the newlywed couple is.

“It was great,’’ Benger screamed when asked what it was like. “They are so, so lovely and so grateful to be here and they are really enjoying their time. They’re so wonderful.’’

Kris Truelsen, who plays Matthew Cuthbert in the play, said it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“This was a little something special. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before,’’ Truelsen said. “I’ve met celebrities but they’ve been movie stars. This was my first royalty. I won’t forget this ever.’’

The only drawback in Dalvay was the weather. The skies opened up and everyone got soaked.

The possible future King of England felt bad about that, said Truelsen.

“Prince William was very kind and forthcoming. He apologized for the weather but we assured him it was worth coming out in the rain to wish him and Kate a long and happy life together.’’

Amid the rain, the couple strolled sampled some Island food and entertainment.

Island entertainer Meaghan Blanchard even made William laugh.

When Blanchard went to welcome the Royal couple, instead of referring to William as a ‘Duke’ she called him a ‘douche’.

“That didn’t just happen?’’ Blanchard said as everyone, including William, shared a light-hearted chuckle over the slip.

Some of the food the Royals had a chance to sample Monday included P.E.I. oysters on the half shell, mussels, pork with sweet mustard relish and rib eye with a red onion marmalade. There was also strawberry shortcake and seafood chowder.

While Kate threw her head back and swallowed a raw oyster, William said thanks, but no thanks.

James Oja, with the Culinary Institute of Canada, said it took a week to prepare enough food for the Royal couple and 2,400 lucky guests.

“This is a very unique opportunity,’’ said Oja, who was one of 85 chefs and culinary staff members at Dalvay on Monday.

“Every day you’re prepping one item for more than 2,000 people, right, instead of most events which are 200 to 500 people. This one here was full out with 10 chefs going on 10-hour days.’’

Oja said the hardest part of the preparation was the dicing.

“The strawberries (involved) a lot of slicing and the pastry chefs worked extremely tediously on the shortbread and I mean extremely tediously. I saw sweat coming off their brows.’’

Other events at Dalvay included William piloting a Sea King helicopter over Dalvay Lake in a waterbird landing demonstration, a skill he learned on Monday that he will take back to Great Britain with him where he works as a rescue pilot.

There was also a dragonboat race, pitting William and Kate against each other, a race the Duke’s team captured.

The race included participants such as Premier Robert Ghiz and his wife, Kate Ellis Ghiz, Olympic sprinter Jared Connaughton and Stanley Cup champion Adam McQuaid. P.E.I. Olympian Heather Moyse presented the winning team with a prize.

Monday’s events at Dalvay also included a traditional Mi’kmaq welcoming ceremony, called smudging.

Abegweit First Nation Chief Brian Francis said he was proud to be a part of the event.

“It is an honour and a privilege, on behalf of the P.E.I. First Nations, to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to our beautiful province,’’ Francis said.

Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard said she will remember the day for the rest of her life.

“It’s like a fairy tale that’s going to be played out to the world and we’re a part of it,’’ Bernard said. “When I’m 70 years old and William has babies growing up I can say I was there. That’s what it’s about on a personal level.’’

Organizations: Confederation Centre, Culinary Institute of Canada, P.E.I. First Nations

Geographic location: Green Gables, Cambridge, Charlottetown England Iceland Great Britain

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Recent comments

  • fellow islander
    July 05, 2011 - 17:15

    Come on now Jack on the Rocks.... I am an islander and I am not complaining. Don't paint us all with the same brush. I only saw the royals on tv to only wish I had the opportunity to see them in person. What great publicity for PEI.. Regis & Kelly, this beautiful young royal couple, and not to forget Meat Loaf, Tragically Hip and others last weekend..... Bring on 2012 so we can see who will visit us then.

  • Jack On The Rocks
    July 05, 2011 - 13:27

    To KB,let me guess,,,there are no tourists in PEI to see the Royals eh????You must be from the Island,complainer!!!!

  • grampie
    July 05, 2011 - 11:12

    Who cares!

    • an Islander
      July 05, 2011 - 13:33

      Hey Grampie - are you sure you're name isn't Grumpy?

  • kb
    July 05, 2011 - 10:12

    Here's a thought, maybe clean up the damn town for when tourists come to visit that generates money for your province. Enough of this royal BS.

    • thats your opinion now heres mine
      July 05, 2011 - 13:16

      Here's a thought, maybe invite members of our Royal Family to visit this province more often as an incentive so that property owners will keep it clean. And maybe the tourists who leave their trash here will only leave money instead.