In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex smile during their visit to Canada House, in London. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan ‘stepping back’ as senior UK royals, will work to become financially independent, they announced Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.(Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool Photo via AP, file)

In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex smile during their visit to Canada House, in London. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan ‘stepping back’ as senior UK royals, will work to become financially independent, they announced Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.(Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool Photo via AP, file)

Small town B.C. mayor issues invite to Royals, despite resident concerns over who pays for security

The Town of Princeton will officially invite Prince Harry and his wife Meghan to become part of the community, following a poll on the municipality’s website asking if residents approve of the idea.

There were 351 responses, with a majority of 196 saying ‘yes.’

The Royal couple recently announced its family would step back from official duties in the UK and live at least part-time in Canada.

Since then the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been spotted frequently in B.C., and it’s been speculated they will make their home in the province.

Related: Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Mayor Spencer Coyne told the Spotlight Monday, based on the response to the poll, he will pen an invitation this week.

“We will at least ask them to visit,” he said.

The Spotlight reported on the poll on its website last week, and Coyne said he was taken aback by some of the social media comments that followed.

Many people took the story very seriously, criticizing the practical nature of the invitation, suggesting Princeton could not bear the costs of related security, and questioning how the mayor is spending his time.

Related: Harry and Meghan should cover their own security costs: NDP heritage critic

Coyne stressed the lighthearted nature of the town’s original post.

“We thought it would be fun. It was a dark, dreary day and we thought ‘let’s invite some Royals to town.’”

The preamble to the poll stressed it is Princeton’s 160th birthday, and the fact that the town’s name was changed in 1860 to honor Prince Harry’s great-great-great grandfather.

“In 1860 Queen Victoria sent her son Albert Edward the Prince of Wales and future King of Great Britain to Canada on a goodwill tour,” the post stated.

“Local legend has it Princeton was renamed from Vermilion Forks in his honour. Some stories claim the Prince was scheduled to come to our humble little community but never made it and to this day Princeton has never had its Royal visit.

We are asking the people of Princeton if we should send an official invitation to Prince Harry and his family to settle in our fair town named in his great great great grandfather’s honour.”

Coyne’s original comments were tongue in cheek.

He told the Spotlight: “We’ve been waiting for our royal visit since 1860. We believe if they want privacy this a really great place for privacy. We are close to all the major centres…They can easily take a car or jump on an airplane and we have fibre optics.”

The town, he said, also has affordable housing on its side.

“A castle in Princeton would be less money than a castle anywhere else.”

Coyne added he feels no rancour about the negative social media comments, adding anything that promotes Princeton benefits tourism.

“You can’t buy this kind of press.”

Related: B.C. privacy commissioner suggests media civility for Prince Harry and Meghan

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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