THERE is no point pretending we’re not disappointed.
The Bathurst community was clearly getting excited about the prospect of hosting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Australia next month and the city certainly put forward a strong case.
Bathurst is the oldest inland European settlement in the country and has long links to the royal family.
Prince Harry’s grandmother has visited the city twice and the opportunity of following in her footsteps must have been tempting.
This is also Wiradyuri country and the home of the great warrior Windradyne, and the royal couple would have loved the chance to learn more about his story and the culture of the local Indigenous community.
Bathurst is home to one of the world’s premier racing circuits, the iconic Mount Panorama, and it’s hard to believe Prince Harry would not have jumped at the opportunity to take a lap – even better if on a closed track at racing speed.
We had another ace up our sleeve in the form of local member Paul Toole whose close ties to the Invictus Games through his racing portfolio had got the ball rolling on a potential Bathurst visit in the first place.
And the magnificent Mayfield Garden had also come on board in exploring ways to entertain the royal couple if they came to the region, and was ready to roll out the red carpet at a moment’s notice.
But it wasn’t to be.
Instead, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will pay a visit to Dubbo where they no doubt will be welcomed with open arms.
We can only congratulate Dubbo on what is a great coup for the city and planning will start straight away to ensure they make the most of the trip.
But while we can admit to a tinge of envy, the choice of Dubbo does not mean Bathurst residents need to be locked out of the fun.
Mr Toole has already suggested running buses to Bathurst on the day and we can only imagine the energy and excitement of those on board.
And having the royal couple in the Central West should be a source of pride for the entire region – a chance for us to come together rather than a time to set us apart.
Royalist or republican, young or old, from Bathurst or from Dubbo, we should all appreciate and embrace this moment in history and make the most of the opportunities this royal visit will create.