Prince Harry, Meghan Markle visit puts Dubbo in spotlight

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA via AP.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA via AP.

The national spotlight has started shining on Dubbo, a month out from a visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The calls came in thick and fast to Dubbo mayor Ben Shields in the 24 hours after the royal couple’s tour was announced on Monday night.

He began Tuesday with an interview with Channel Nine’s Today show, and throughout the day spoke to radio stations in every state and territory except Tasmania.

“The amount of inquiry has been huge,” he said.

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Cr Shields said he put the interest down to “the magic of the monarchy”.

The mayor said he could not put a figure on how many people the visit would bring to the city, but reported the Dubbo Visitor Information Centre was already “getting a hell of a lot” of inquiries on Tuesday.

He said he expected accommodation in the city would be “full to capacity”.

“It will be huge,” he said.

The impending visit is another link between the city and the royal family.

The Queen and Prince Philip visited Dubbo during their 1954 tour of Australia, the first by a reigning monarch.

The sovereign returned to the city in 1992, and Prince Edward, Prince Harry’s uncle, touched down for the day in 2006.

“Dubbo’s royal credentials are right up there and that’s something I’m very proud of,” Cr Shields said.

October 17 is the big day.

“I’m not certain of the actually itinerary yet, but I’m hoping as many locals as possible can be involved,” Cr Shields said.

Before then there would be work to “shine the city up” so it looked its best, the mayor said.

The eight-day tour includes Sydney, Dubbo, Melbourne and Fraser Island. 

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