A 13 year-old Birmingham schoolgirl was crowned queen of the castle after DZG staff made all her wishes come true.
Maariyah Iqbal, who has a rare genetic disorder, received her royal honours in the 11th century courtyard at the heart of the zoological gardens on Friday, August 23 from DZG Presenter, Langan Turner and Education Assistant, Amy Hickman pictured above. The teenager, from Erdington, revealed her regal request to Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity, which organises wishes for children with serious or life-threatening illnesses. After being contacted by the charity, DZG staff pulled out all the stops to make sure Maariyah and her family had a day to remember. Head of Media and Communications, Jill Hitchman, said: “We made sure Maariyah had a VIP experience fit for any royal. “She had a fantastic time touring her kingdom before taking her oaths in a coronation ceremony in a busy castle courtyard, where she pledged to be kind to all animals.” During her visit Maariyah also had the chance to come face to face with birds of prey in a falconry display, before meeting some little critters in the castle undercroft. Maariyah said: “I loved every bit of my day, especially having an owl land on my arm and giving out punishments to my family as their queen.” Mum, Farzanna Kauser, said: “It was a really fantastic day and it was great to see Maariyah really happy. She loved being in the castle as she loves history and adores anything to do with kings and queens. “Everyone was so kind to us. It was a really memorable day for us to share with her as a family.”