POLL: Mayor invokes history to entice royals

The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge, with son George, have been invited to explore the Shoalhaven. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge, with son George, have been invited to explore the Shoalhaven. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

It was an exclusive revealed to the world only recently: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge owe a huge debt of gratitude - nay, their very marriage - to the Shoalhaven.

Or so Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash would like us to believe.

The council's bold bid to lure the royal couple for a visit for a few days during their forthcoming Australian trip was unveiled at lunchtime yesterday and just a few keyboard strokes later, started making headlines around the globe.

A teasing, "strictly embargoed" press release had been sent to media, which gave nothing away save the subject line: Royal Tour.

Welcoming committee Joe Bishop, of Coolangatta Estate, Mayor Joanna Gash and Lieutenant Commander (retired) Nobby Hall.

Welcoming committee Joe Bishop, of Coolangatta Estate, Mayor Joanna Gash and Lieutenant Commander (retired) Nobby Hall.

Intriguingly, the press release continued: "The Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council will make an important public announcement of potential significance to the City on Tuesday 21st January at 10.30am."

It was only then Cr Gash dropped the bombshell that must have sent royal fans the world over into instant shock: if it weren't for an early South Coast settler by the name of Alexander Berry, the Scottish university where the duke and duchess first locked eyes would have suffered a dire financial death in the 1800s, therefore, at least by the Mayor's reckoning, the royal romantics would never have met.

It turns out Alexander attended St Andrew's University in the early 1800s before emigrating to Australia and helping to establish the first European settlement on the South Coast.

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When he died, he left his estate to his brother, David, who in turn, when he died, bequeathed £100,000 - a staggering $16 million in today's currency - to St Andrew's University.

That gift saved the university from disaster, ultimately allowing a future king to study there and meet his future wife.

So it logically follows that Wills and Kate should repay the favour by bestowing their royal presence, including junior royal George (who, of course, would not have been born if his parents hadn't met), on the Shoalhaven.

The red carpet has already been rolled out and a full four-day itinerary planned with something to please even the most discerning royal couple, starting with a visit to the quaint township of Berry, named in honour of the brothers.

There are bushwalks in Booderee National Park, a quick dip at Jervis Bay, and of course, no visit to the Shoalhaven would be complete without dropping into one of the dozens of wineries for a tipple.

Accommodation won't be a problem and it has the added bonus of pretty good security - HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay, which happens to have the whitest sand in the world.

Cr Gash doesn't want residents to feel at all left out and has invited suggestions on what the royal couple might like to visit during their Shoalhaven sojourn.

"It is extremely remarkable to consider that some of the most everlasting images of the past decade, including the royal wedding and the birth of Prince George, may not have been possible without the Shoalhaven," she said.

"Looking back through hindsight, David Berry could be described as both the world's most famous and most unlikely Cupid," the Mayor gushed.

How could Wills and Kate possibly reject what is, in the Mayor's words, such a "very important and unique reason to visit Shoalhaven City this April: Without us you may never have met."

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