Palace confirms Sydney visit, but no news on Bathurst visit yet

CONFIRMATION Prince Harry and his new bride Meghan will visit Australia in October for the 2018 Invictus Games has given the region’s push for a Royal visit increasing momentum.

It was widely expected the newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex would visit Sydney in October for the 2018 Invictus Games, a Paralympics style event for defence veterans, of which Prince Harry is a patron.

Kensington Palace confirmed the couple’s Sydney visit on Monday.

While it has yet to be revealed if the royal couple will travel elsewhere in Australia, Member for Bathurst, Paul Toole, said late last month there is a real possibility of Meghan and Harry visiting a regional centre.

Mr Toole was instrumental in recommending a regional visit.

As Minister for Racing, Mr Toole assisted the Minister for Veterans Affairs and Minister for Clubs as co-hosts for Prince Harry’s last visit to Australia to promote the Games last June.

Through that connection, Mr Toole made the recommendation the couple visit a regional area, with Bathurst and the Hunter Valley put forward for consideration.

Since the idea was floated, Mr Toole has actively campaigned for a royal visit, and through social media platforms, has asked the community for photos, videos or comments as to why the couple should put Bathurst on their 'must visit' list. 

Among the ideas put forward was ‘the chance to see the fabulous Support Dog program run by NSW Corrective Services and the great work they do for returned servicemen and women suffering from PTSD.’ 

On Facebook, Jan van der Sterren, who came up with the suggestion, said the idea “fits in well with the whole reason for their trip to Australia, the Invictus Games.”

Karla McDiarmid, owner of Macquarie Medi Spa, said she would “love to see a fundraiser dinner with funds donated to Australian Charities the Royals support like the Royal Flying Doctor Service.”

Ms McDiarmid also cited the city’s history, many beautiful buildings, restaurants and local wineries, plus her internationally acclaimed day spa as other enticements.

Mr Toole, who is compiling a report for Kensington Palace, said it was up to the couple and the palace to decide their schedule.

“It’s up to them, but the suggestion has been made. It hasn’t been ruled out … it’s still alive,” he said.