IT’S not every day you get the royal seal of approval.

But Swansea’s children author Lilli Sutherland was surprised when her book cover inspired by an outfit worn by the Queen won her just that.

The 59-year-old, from Morriston, sent a copy of Jasper at Plumrose Farm, to the monarch in celebration of her 90th birthday.

She also sent another copy to Prince William and Kate in celebration of their son Prince George’s third birthday.

Lilli, who is originally from the island of St Vincent & the Grenadines, said she was absolutely gobsmacked when a letter from Balmoral landed on her doormat.

She said: “I was flabbergasted really. I can vividly recall the day when I first saw the Queen.
“The year was 1966, when she visited the island. I was among the hundreds of school children lining the route, which led through the capital — Kingstown.
“Waiting, for what seemed hours, in the hot sunshine, we grew restless and fidgety. Our teachers had warned us to be on our best behaviour for this special occasion.
“We strained our necks looking in the direction, where the vehicle would lead the procession. Finally, the vehicle approached at a snail’s pace.
“We waved our flags with great enthusiasm.
“Her Majesty’s appearance led to an immediate eruption of rapturous cheers. Wearing a yellow suit and matching hat, she looked absolutely stunning.
“As a young girl, I was captivated by her presence. She was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen.
“She was truly a glorious vision to behold. When she spoke, her mesmeric voice left me in a trance.”

She added: “Fast forward 50 years and an opportunity came my way to commemorate that occasion. Earlier this year when I designed my book cover, I specifically included yellow roses to represent the colour of her outfit.
“To celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, I sent a letter sharing my memories of her visit, along with a copy of the book.
“Recently I received an acknowledgement from the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting.
“Written on behalf of Her Majesty, on Balmoral Castle headed paper, the letter states that the Queen thanks me for my birthday gift and for recollections of that visit.
“It continues ‘Her Majesty was pleased to be reminded of that trip, many years ago.'”
She said she also delighted to receive a letter from Kensington Palace from the secretary of Prince William and Kate after also sending them a copy of the book.
“This is the pinnacle of all my writing,” she said.

Mum-of-two Lilli, who was previously an office administrator and interior designer, was inspired to write the book after a two-month trip to her native St Vincent and the Grenadines turned into a two-year stay as she was missing her British-based granddaughter Skye, now three, as she was missing her badly.