Local gift brings 
royal appreciation

A unique wedding gift prompted a royal acknowledgement this month as local artist Luelan Bodden received a personal letter of thanks from the Office of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

Mr. Bodden, a professional artist for the past 12 years, appreciated the recognition, even more so because his gift almost failed to make it to the royal couple. 

“After sharing my idea with the Governor’s Office, they gave me a mailing address, but when it arrived in the United Kingdom, the courier company told me they would have to return the package. They couldn’t clear it because personal gifts weren’t being accepted unless from invited guests,” Mr. Bodden said. 

Never one for giving up, Mr. Bodden again turned to the Governor’s office for help and the gift was finally accepted. His unique hibiscus bloom creation, crafted from conch shells and local mahogany, became one of very few personal gifts to reach the royal couple. 

“Getting it to Prince William and his fiancé wasn’t easy and I had to try every avenue. I thank the Governor’s office because without their help, there wouldn’t have been a happy outcome,” Mr. Bodden said.  

The piece took seven weeks to create and needed material from five conch shells to fashion the flower. Mr. Bodden mounted it on mahogany taken from a fallen tree he found in 
East End.  

“I never expected any letter, but it is satisfying. I feel honoured to have received it,” he said. 

Even as he celebrates this artistic career highlight, Mr. Bodden is moving on to other challenges. Right now, he is “seeking the right home” for the four-foot iguana he has crafted from driftwood. 

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