Council leader denies royal visit ‘snub’ after no-show

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COUNCIL leader Adam McVey has laughed off suggestions he snubbed royal lovebirds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their historic Capital visit.

The SNP chief’s absence from dignitaries welcoming the couple on their first Scottish trip on Tuesday raised a few eyebrows.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are accommpanied by the Lord Provost during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle. Picture: John Linton/PA Wire

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are accommpanied by the Lord Provost during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle. Picture: John Linton/PA Wire

But Cllr McVey said he chose to concentrate on council business instead, while the city was “ably represented” by Lord Provost Frank Ross.

“I had a very busy day. I wouldn’t snub anyone,” Cllr McVey told the Evening News. “Especially in a city reliant on four million visitors a year.

“No visitor to our city should be snubbed, Everybody should be welcome.”

And of the royal couple he added: “I wish them all the best. I understand they’re getting married soon and that’s fine.”

Cllr McVey’s diary on Tuesday included a meeting with Edinburgh Leisure chief June Peebles, plans for affordable homes and ploughing through committee papers, he said.

The smiling couple headed first to Edinburgh Castle, greeting crowds along the esplanade.

Asked if he was looking forward to his wedding day, Prince Harry replied: “I’ve been excited since the day I met her.”

Pony Major Mark Wilkinson introduced Meghan and Harry to Cruachan IV, a Shetland pony mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The Royal Marines Band Scotland played for Meghan, the former Suits star, and the Prince who became Captain General of the Royal Marines in December 2017.

They then joined Sergeant Dave Beveridge, District Gunner, Royal Artillery, for the firing of the One O’Clock Gun.

The besotted couple then dropped in at homeless charity Social Bite in Rose Street – speaking to volunteers and founder Josh Littlejohn. A keen patron of charities, Prince Harry urged the social enterprise to roll out its model across the UK “as soon as possible”.

The Royal reportedly asked Mr Littlejohn and co-founder Alice Thompson, “when are you bringing this down south?”

Then it was on to a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse to celebrate youth achievements, marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. The reception was also attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Lord Provost – but Cllr McVey stayed away.

One council insider said of Cllr McVey’s no-show: “I just think it’s a bit miserable not to see the happy couple when they come to visit the city – it didn’t take much to see 
them.”

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com