Joyous occasion for Maclean grandmother
By Sally Gordon
When Val Philp met Her Excellency Mrs Marlena Jeffery at a function in Grafton last year, it was the first of many joyous occasions where the Maclean woman would find herself rubbing shoulders with Australian sovereignty.
Ms Philp is the proud grandmother of Louise Mills, who on May 14 will wed Craig Jeffery and marry into one of the country's most distinguished families.
Craig, a former army major, is the son of Australia's Governor-General, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery.
Ms Philp and her daughter Barbara Hughes, who also lives at Maclean, recently flew to Sydney to help Louise, 33, celebrate her engagement to Craig on January 21.
On arrival at the private party, put on by family in the opulent surrounds of Admiralty House on Kirribilli Point, Ms Philp and Ms Hughes were personally introduced to the Governor-General and Mrs Jeffery. They were warm and unpretentious hosts, despite the obvious formalities and strict protocols that surround the high-profile family.
"The party was so relaxed, everyone made you feel welcome with all sides of the family mixing well," Ms Hughes said.
"There were people walking up to one another introducing themselves and each other and casually chatting."
Moved to tears of joy for her granddaughter, Ms Philp said she was 'very proud and so excited to see Louise get married'.
Ms Hughes said her niece was in Timor working as a freelance journalist.
The writer's post follows a lengthy period of teaching communications in Timor for the United Nations.
She will return to her Sydney home in April, to prepare for the wedding, where Ms Hughes and Ms Philp again will mingle with their Australian sovereignty.
Louise and Craig will marry in Canberra.