Bundy woman tells: The day I met Prince Charles
IT WAS an unruly split in her frock that had Hazle Marland OAM panicking about meeting the Prince of Wales.
The year was 1994 when Prince Charles made a "fleeting" visit to Bundaberg, something Mrs Marland reflected fondly on after news of the future king's arrival back to the Rum City broke this week.
She said she first met Charles on the balcony at Millaquin Mill where she was invited to speak to the Prince about her executive position in the cattle industry.
In a blue frock she bought for the occasion, Mrs Marland said she was a fluster of worry about her knees and the split in the dress before meeting the heir to the throne.
"I assumed that I would need to curtsy so I wanted to wear a dress I could do that in," she said.
"I got this damn frock that split above the knee which made me question how I was going to pull off such a move."
But the worrying was for nothing, according to Mrs Marland, as the curtsy never eventuated due to the Prince's cool, calm and collected demeanour.
"In the end it was OK because he was so casual and nice, I didn't need to curtsy at all," she said.
At the time of their meeting, Mrs Marland said she was in an executive position in the rural and cattle industry, something His Royal Highness found very interesting.
"He seemed very impressed," she said.
"I think meeting him that day was a great thing for women in general; being the only female in a room full of men, it was quite a momentous occasion."
Mrs Marland said, while clutching the split of her dress in one hand and her tea in another, she sat down with the Prince to chat.
"I found him lovely, not pretentious at all, and he was quite genuine in wanting to talk to me about everything," she said.
"I remember he raised the issue of wholemeal bread - he wanted his children to start eating it."
Mrs Marland said she would love the opportunity meet Charles again when he visits Bundaberg in April as part of a tour for the Commonwealth Games.
"I actually still have the photo of him and I," she said.
"My husband always told me to put it away.
"When our house blew away years ago I think he was hoping the photo would have blown away too," she laughed.
And as for the blue dress with the split, it's also still around.
"I still have the frock somewhere. It is a very beautiful frock and I'm thankful I didn't need to curtsy."