Magic of a prince in Tully

Townsville Bulletin - - News - Emily Mac­don­ald emily. mac­don­ald@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au townsville­bul­letin. com. au

ANY lit­tle girl could tell you there is magic in the air when a prince comes to town.

On Satur­day af­ter­noon I re­ceived a largely in­co­her­ent phone call from my mother in Tully.

Even­tu­ally I was able to fig­ure out she was squeal­ing from ex­cite­ment be­cause af­ter pa­tiently stak­ing out her place at the show­grounds for more than an hour, she had shaken hands with Prince Wil­liam.

‘‘ He was so lovely, so like his mother, a real peo­ple’s per­son, you know? He had time for ev­ery­one,’’ she gushed.

The last time I re­ceived such an en­er­getic phone call from my nor­mally placid mother was when Cy­clone Yasi was hurtling to­wards my home town and she wanted to sob out a hys­ter­i­cal fi­nal good­bye.

Tully and Card­well hit in­ter­na­tional head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons last month so it’s won­der­ful to see the towns back on the front pages in happier cir­cum­stances.

Some­one had ob­vi­ously told Prince Wil­liam what North Queens­lan­ders al­ready knew – these lit­tle towns are in­cred­i­ble places filled with equally amaz­ing peo­ple.

It’s a shame Prince Wil­liam’s visit drew the pre­dictable out­cry from the ra­bid repub­li­cans, al­though it was sat­is­fy­ing to note their protests were largely over­shad­owed by the ex­cite­ment sur­round­ing the royal visit.

The peo­ple of Tully and Card­well don’t care about the po­lit­i­cal de­bate over Aus­tralia’s sta­tus as a monar­chy.

All that mat­ters is the prince has taken the time to travel from the other side of the world just to visit them and lis­ten to their sto­ries.

For Card­well’s 102-year-old Betty Evans, meet­ing Prince Wil­liam was a high­light in the twi­light years of a long life well lived.

Lit­tle Clare Mooney will be able to tell her grand­chil­dren how, as a cheeky six-year-old, she pro­posed mar­riage to a prince.

Be­fore she mar­ried my fa­ther, my mother was mar­ried briefly to a man whom she dis­cov­ered was more toad than prince.

As an act of de­fi­ance she had a jew­eller shat­ter the di­a­mond on her en­gage­ment ring and repli­cate the sap­phire ring worn by Princess Diana, a strong woman whom she idolised.

Meet­ing the son of the woman she has long ad­mired has brought a smile back to her face as she waits pa­tiently for the in­surance com­pany to de­cide when the leak­ing roof of her house can be re­placed.

I un­der­stand the royal fam­ily evokes strong emo­tions in many peo­ple.

But when so many of those emo­tions are pos­i­tive ones, to me there’s no ques­tion that a royal visit was just what North Queens­land needed.


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