A group dedicated to fostering friendship between Danville and Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, hopes the bond could lead to a visit from some royal newlyweds.
When Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge were married in April, one of their three titles bestowed on them within the realm of Great Britain was Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus. While the traditional gesture probably didn't register much with many observers, it gave some members of the Danville Sister Cities Commission a big idea.
And a royal invitation on city of Danville letterhead likely already has made its way to the couple via the Royal Mail.
Milton Reigelman, chairman of the commission, acknowledges a visit from the newlyweds is likely a long shot, but it doesn't hurt to make the suggestion, should it pay off in the future. In the letter sent late last month to the couple's home at London's St. James Palace, Reigelman emphasized several factors that could actually work in Danville's favor.
In addition to promoting the idea of Danville as a slice of quintessential small town America, Reigelman also lists some of the historical and cultural claims to fame, including the 2000 vice-presidential debate at Centre College and a recent performance at the Norton Center for the Arts by the Vienna Philharmonic.
One of the major selling points also could be the royal family's ties to central Kentucky horse business.
William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, has stayed at former British Ambassador WIlliam Farish's Lane's End Farm in Versailles for state and personal visits, and the farm handles some of her horses.
Then there is the connection with Carrickfergus, which prompted the effort in the first place and may be the most compelling factor.
The royal couple undoubtedly will make a visit to Carrickfergus at some point, which likely would come on short notice, considering its proximity to London. This could offer the chance for local officials there to plant the seed on Danville's behalf.
Reigelman said strong relationships have developed between members of the commission and the town council and current and former mayors of Carrickfergus during several visits. Although he is awaiting what will likely be a standard response to the invitation before asking for help, Reigelman said the current mayor of Carrickfergus is supportive of the idea and may also write a letter on Danville’s behalf.
In Reigelman's ideal scenario, any visit to Danville could be coordinated with an International Week at the end of March, which includes the Irish Festival and is now being coordinated with the Rotary Club's International Dinner.
"We would definitely roll out the red carpet for them whenever they came," Reigelman said.