Bakers Newsagency is closing early today so owner Leanne Luck can try to get a glimpse of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Photo: Bridie Jabour
- Rolling coverage of the royal couple's visit will begin later today.
Who got an invite? Why did they get one? How did they get it?
This is the hot topic among the royalists of Longreach, some of whom are a bit miffed they were not one of the 300 to be invited to a barbecue with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The couple fly in for a two-hour visit this afternoon on the first stop of their Australian tour and Longreach seems to be split among those who are giving the couple a royal shrug, those who got an invitation to the royal barbecue and those who feel snubbed.
Leanne Luck owns Bakers Newsagency in the Main Street of the central Queensland town and is closing up early today to line up with water, an umbrella and sunscreen to get a glimpse of the couple.
"I am a royalist. I love them and I hope we never get rid of them," she said.
"I'm a bit upset I didn't get an invitation. No one seems to know why they got an invitation – it was really random. Some of the people who got them have only been here six months or have never done any charity work. I've been here 20 years."
After touring the Qantas Founders Museum, the royal couple will visit the Stockman's Hall of Fame where there will be a whip-cracking display and a barbecue for a select 300 of the town's 4000-strong population.
Schoolchildren will form a guard of honour on horseback as the couple enters the hall and the daughter of Ms Luck's friend is among those selected from the local high school to meet the couple.
"She doesn't even care very much. I could wring her neck," Ms Luck said.
"All of these people who don't seem to care one way or the other got an invitation."
Ms Luck said the lack of signs and decorations in the town was due to ambivalence and a dearth of resources.
She said she would have "loved" to have had a cardboard cut-out of the royal couple outside her newsagency but did not know where to find one.
"I think it's just a great event. Why they are coming here I have no idea, it's just blowing me away," she said.
"A lot of people don't care. I think that's just the terrible outback way.
"This will happen once in a lifetime, that's a big thing."
Ms Luck is hoping most of Longreach shows her commitment and heads out to greet Prince Charles and Camilla even though the mercury is tipped to hit 38 today.
One of her customers, Robinann Snow, was working in a newsagency in Longreach when the Queen visited in 1988 and said she was not allowed out of work until the last minute to go and line the path the Queen was walking.
"We were right at the end and the Queen extended her walk so we were right in front of her," she said.
"She was so gracious. She just had an amazing presence.
"We were very, very young and she asked us where we worked and we were just tongue tied."