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Connie Roberts-McNeil sends Queen letter asking to create badge for children who lost family members in war

A schoolgirl from Ashford has received royal appreciation for her innovative idea to award brave children.

Connie Roberts-McNeil, aged 9, sent the Queen a letter for her 90th birthday along with her design for a remembrance badge.

She never expected to get a reply, and was overwhelmed when she discovered the letter from Her Royal Highness through her letter box.

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Connie with her badge design
Connie with her badge design

The response was from the lady-in-waiting on behalf of the Queen, who apologised for the late reply. Connie said: “She made a really nice letter and it was really thoughtful. I didn’t think that they would reply.”

Connie’s idea for the remembrance badge has been in the pipeline for some time. After learning about the world wars at school and her great-grandparents who fought in the D-Day landings, she designed the badge to recognise the bravery of children who have lost close family members in wars.

She also keeps up to date with world news watching programmes such as Newsround and was inspired by the children she saw on television going through the same today.

Video: Connie asked the Queen to make her remembrance badge

The badge is in the shape of a heart, with illustrations of poppies, a dove to symbolise peace and a multicoloured helmet noting different branches of the armed forces.

Connie said: “I felt bad for those countries that are having war and I thought we could make something for our country to support them or people in the family that have had an actual fight or lost a dad, mum, brother or sister, that maybe they would be awarded a badge so it would help them for the loss.

“It would make them feel like a hero to them so they wouldn’t feel like they died for no reason.”

The card from the Queen that came with the letter
The card from the Queen that came with the letter

Connie said she felt for children at her school who had come from different countries and lost family members through war: “One time, the dad didn’t come back, and that just made me feel a bit sad for that person.”

Although the Queen appreciated Connie’s idea, the letter said that she would not be able to make the badge as asked.

Connie Roberts-McNeil with her letter from the Queen
Connie Roberts-McNeil with her letter from the Queen

However, this has only made Connie more determined to make the badge a reality: “She said that they couldn’t do what I asked but I think that maybe I have a better chance of doing it with the Prime Minister and Prince Harry. I think I have a really good shot because he’s in the army himself.”

Connie enjoys following the Royals since visiting Buckingham Palace last year, and was particularly interested in the birth of Princess Charlotte.

Mum Theresa Roberts-McNeil said: “She’s always doing lots of different things, I wasn’t surprised.

“It’s just so heartwarming, the ideas that she comes up with. It was nice that she mixed in about the Queen’s birthday.

“Wow! When that envelope was on the doorstep there, we all screamed the house down!”

Mrs Roberts-McNeil spoke about what she hopes the next steps are for her daughter: “That would be nice, to get a reply from Prince Harry.

“It might be nice if a designer maybe could sit down with Connie to make it more concrete and bring her idea to life.”

Connie plans to send her idea to Prince Harry and the Prime Minister later this year, and her success has inspired her class to write their own letter to the Queen.

Connie and her mum Theresa Roberts-McNeil with her badge design
Connie and her mum Theresa Roberts-McNeil with her badge design
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