Gari, please have a look at this HMRC webpage, and in particular the bottom section, which reads :-

When you can transfer Child Benefit

You can tell us at any time if you want to transfer your Child Benefit to your partner. But if you want your partner to get pension protection you will need to tell us between 7 April and 30 June at the latest. If you tell us after that date, they will lose out on a year's worth of pension protection.

Your partner will also need to send the Child Benefit claim form to the Child Benefit Office by 30 June if they want to get a year's worth of pension protection.
So clearly it is not too late for ETV's wife to get HRP for the current tax year, 2008-2009.

ETV, lots of useful info on that webpage about how to transfer the claim.