Princess Kate and The Royal Guest
Back in 1993, a small hardcover picture book titled The Royal Guest was published. It was written and illustrated by Tohby Riddle. The Royal Guest was a simple story, told at a time when there was public debate about the cost of a Royal visit to the Australian taxpayer. In the story a woman named Mrs Jones offers to billet the Queen in her suburban Sydney home; she has a comfortable inflatable mattress and all the Queen needs to do is bring her sleeping bag. The Queen happily accepts. The Queen’s tour is a success, and despite the her hectic schedule she and Mrs Jones enjoy a relaxed and convivial time together, playing cards, taking the cat to the vet and chatting after a long day. Over time, the book has found many a home. In the mid-90s, excerpts were published in the now defunct Stay in Touch column in the Sydney Morning Herald and it has recently been featured in Symbols of Australia (New South Books, 2010). Today it was presented to the Queen’s granddaughter-in-law Princess Kate at Echo Point, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, Australia.