There was a sharp sense of disappointment among many Australians when it was announced that the first royal tour to be conducted by Prince William and his new bride this summer would be to Canada. It has always been thought there is a special relationship between the young prince and "the lucky country". Now, though, the Palace seems set to put the smile back on Aussie faces with the dramatic revelation that William is being considered as the country's next Governor-General.
The proposal is not without controversy – the role of Queen's representative has been held by Australians since the 1960s – but is seen to have a double benefit. It rewards loyal Australians, known to be among the most enthusiastic royalists in the Commonwealth, and gives Prince William an official role away from the British press.
"The GG option is on the table," a senior courtier confirmed this week. "It was considered for Prince Charles a few years back but he was considered what the locals call 'a wowser'. Ever since his tour last year, William is apparently 'a bonzer bloke'."
Ironically, it was a royal blooper by the Prince that won the hearts of no-nonsense Aussies. Chatting to teenagers with Kevin Rudd, then Prime Minister, he used the term "taking the p***", much to the delight of the Australian press.
Kate Middleton is popular, too. She has a cousin in New South Wales and was recently listed between Holly Vallance and Kylie Minogue in a Cutest Celeb magazine feature. It is thought Prime Minister Julia Gillard, a born-again monarchist who is a guest at the royal wedding, will make the announcement soon after her return.
* Being "the other family" at a royal wedding is famously tricky, but Mike and Carole Middleton are proving they are no pushovers. It was the Middletons who vetoed the Palace wedding committee's plan to commission events organiser Peregrine Armstrong-Jones to bring "a bit of celebrity pizzazz" to the reception. "They insisted on a bog-standard, home-counties approach," a disappointed Palace insider told me. In the end, veteran party-planner Lady Elizabeth Anson proved the perfect compromise. The Middletons were unable to object to the Queen's cousin.