February 4, 2019

His Royal Highness: Nursing home patient corresponds with British royal couple

Following the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s third child last spring, a Michigan man had a unusual idea. Confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home, Robert Butts had always treasured the book, 100 Favorite Bible Verses, insofar as reading it daily for words of encouragement and inspiration.


He began to think, “Wouldn’t it be nice for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, to also have a copy of the book that has meant so much to me?”


So, he asked a friend to help prepare a meticulous, typewritten note.


It began:


Your Royal Highnesses,


My name is Robert Butts and I am 86 years old. Since I was a child, I’ve been devoted to the Royal family as though I was a British subject. In November, 1947, I listened to Elizabeth and Philip exchange their vows via transatlantic radio broadcast, and in April, 2011, I watched you exchange yours on television. Both events brought me great joy and excitement.


I am elated with your marriage, and wish for you and your children long lives and great happiness. I have enclosed a copy of one of my most cherished books, and hope you find its guidance useful.


Sincerely yours,

Robert Butts


The letter — with a return address of Royalton Manor, Peace Blvd., St. Joseph, Mich. — traveled nearly 4,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean and arrived at Kensington Palace.


A few months later, an envelope affixed with the palace seal, arrived in Bob’s mail. Excitedly, he opened it and read the contents of the letter:


Dear Mr. Butts,


I should, first, like to apologize for the length of time it has taken us to reply to your letter; the last several months have been extremely busy for this office and we have, consequently, been unable to reply as quickly as we should have like to.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to thank you for your kind letter and gift.


Their Royal Highness are most grateful to you for taking the trouble to send them the book, 100 Favorite Bible Verses. It really was most thoughtful of you, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to send you their warmest thanks and best wishes.


Yours sincerely,

Claudia Spens


 Since the letter’s arrival, Bob hasn’t stopped telling people about his brush with royalty.


“He forgets he has told the story before,” said Bob’s friend, Derrick Proctor, an Andrews University retired professor who is helping with his care.


Derrick said that Bob has mailed out a dozen more of the books to various of his friends and acquaintances and has gone to great lengths to share it with nursing staff at the assisted living facility.


As to why he keeps doing this, Bob simply says, “People need to know the truth.”


Debbie Michel, associate director of Communication, Lake Union Herald



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