Coleraine schoolgirl Ellyn Ritchie has pen pals in very high places.
Not many people can say they have received a personal letter from a member of the Royal Family - but Castleroe Primary School pupil Ellyn already boasts three to her name.
The eight-year-old began the correspondence a few years ago, and so far has received replies from Prince William and Kate Middleton, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
Mum Lyn Ritchie explained: “Ellyn absolutely loves the royal family, so a few years ago she decided to send William and Kate a letter. It was November of 2015, so she drew a lovely picture of poppies for the month of remembrance,
“Then, to our amazement in February 2016 she received a lovely hand-drawn, personal letter, addressed ‘Dear Ellyn’. We hadn’t expected a reply, so she was absolutely over the moon, especially because it included a beautiful picture of baby Charlotte and George which Ellyn absolutely adored.”
Lyn said that her daughter’s fascination with the Royal Family had started from an early age.
“She grew up surrounded by a love of the Royal Family as her dad and granny are such big fans, they would always watch DVDs and shows together about them.
“In fact my dad Graham, who was quite famous years ago for his caricatures, once sent a drawing to Prince Charles and got a wonderful reply telling him that the prince had loved it so much, he had put it up in his bathroom in the palace!”
Following her initial success with Prince William and Kate, Ellyn, whose favourite subject at school is English, decided to write again.
“The following November, after being so pleased with her reply from the the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Ellyn sent Prince Charles a card for his birthday. It was funny becauses she knew it took place just a week before her dad’s birthday.” Lyn added.
“Ellyn was delighted when she got a lovely picture back in the post, along with a personal note from the prince.”
Finally, rounding up Ellyn’s impressive collection was a reply from Queen Elizabeth.
“She sent a birthday card to Queen Elizabeth with a picture and was delighted when she got yet another reply. It’s just amazing for her to have these letters, especially because she loves the royals. How many eight year olds can say they have three personal letters from the Royal Family?.
“But I have to say, the first letter she received from William and Kate is definitely Ellyn’s favourite. She worships Kate. After all, what little girl doesn’t dream of being a princess? Particularly one as young and glamorous as Kate Middleton.”
Naturally, Ellyn’s mum said she loves to show the correspondence off: “Ellyn’s letters have certainly proved popular with her classmates, who are just amazed by them. They have pride of place in her bedroom - they are framed and hanging on the wall over her bed. She loves showing them off.”
Lyn added that Ellyn has no interest in writing to celebrities in the future, but explained that she definitely wouldn’t rule out her daughter writing to the Royal Family again.
“It’s definitely all about the royals for Ellyn. I certainly wouldn’t be suprised if she writes again soon, maybe even to William and Kate again - they are her favourites after all.”