Royal response to hoax sympathy card

Prince Charles sent a letter of support to Forfar charity worker Wilma Whyte.
Prince Charles sent a letter of support to Forfar charity worker Wilma Whyte.

A well-known Forfar fund-raiser has been left overwhelmed after receiving a letter of support from Prince Charles.

Wilma Whyte, who over the years has raised tens of thousands of pounds to provide equipment for Whitehills and Stracathro hospitals and latterly for the Angus Threeway Fundraisers, was left sickened and devastated in November when she received a hoax condolence card through the post.

The card, signed by “Charles and Camilla”, caused much upset for Wilma and her husband Michael (Mick) following the death of the couple’s much loved black labrador, Jade.

Wilma, who has attended the Royal Garden Party and who was presented with the Andrew Smyth Memorial Award for her charitable work, was left bewildered at the cruelty behind the hoax “with sympathy” card.

The sick sender also wrote: “We have only just had the opportunity to read the local papers. They take a while to reach us at Clarence House. And our condolences to hear of your sad loss of Jade.”

Wilma contacted the Dispatch and Herald at the time and, with our help, met the Earl of Strathmore to enquire about the card.

He too was genuinely upset by the nature of the hoax and contacted Prince Charles regarding the incident.

As a result, there was a special delivery to the Whytes’ home last Tuesday - and this time it was the genuine article.

The extremely touching note was written by the heir to the throne on Hogmanay whilst he was in residence at Birkhall on Royal Deeside.

It read: “Dear Mrs Whyte, Lord Strathmore told me before Christmas that you had received a hoax card following the very sad loss of your dog and I wanted to say how much I sympathise with you. I am also sorry that you and your poor husband should have been unnecessarily upset by such a silly card - particularly when I know that you do so much for so many local charitable causes.

“This brings you and your husband my kindest good wishes for the New Year.

“Yours most sincerely,


Prince Charles had also underlined the ‘so’ in ‘so much’ in recognition of Wilma’s tireless efforts in raising funds for local worthy causes. She started fund-raising to purchase special mattresses for Whitehills Hospital in 1994. She then raised funds for the stroke unit at Stracathro Hospital, then Forfar Day Care Centre before setting up the Angus Threeway Fundraisers. This initially raised funds for Angus Cancer Care, Multiple Sclerosis and Childlink with the latter replaced by the Angus Cardiac Group in 2012.

Commenting on the letter, Wilma said she and Mick were completely overwhelmed.

The envelope was stamped ‘ER, Private and confidential’ and was franked at Buckingham Palace.

Quite fittingly, it was dated December 31 - when Wilma was busy raising more funds at a Hogmanay dance for the Angus Threeway Fundraisers in the Reid Hall.

Wilma added: “We knew this was a true letter. It has the Royal crest on the back. It is unbelievable Prince Charles took the time to write to us. It is fantastic. It is lovely to know there are a lot of good people out there.”

When contacted on Friday Lord Strathmore commented: “It was very good of my cousin to have responded.”