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Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. (Troy Fleece/The Canadian Press)
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. (Troy Fleece/The Canadian Press)

Her Majesty to have Brad Wall for tea Add to ...

If there was ever a doubt that potash helped put Premier Brad Wall and his province on the world map, Friday's meeting at Buckingham Palace should help clear it up.

The Saskatchewan Premier is scheduled to have mid-morning tea with Her Majesty The Queen.

If it wasn't for his high-profile battle last fall to keep the world's largest mining company from taking over Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Mr. Wall wouldn't be in London this week trying to convince overseas businesses that the province is still open to foreign investment.

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"It's either celebrity or notoriety that comes from the whole potash story," Mr. Wall said in an telephone interview from London late Thursday. "Either way, we are going to take advantage of the fact that people are kind of curious about this place [Saskatchewan]"

The request to sit down with the Queen was made by Mr. Wall's staff, with some advice from officials in Ottawa. To his surprise, the offer was accepted.

While the visit will be hasty, just 20 minutes long, Mr. Wall was giddy at the prospect of his first private face-to-face meeting with the Queen. "It's pretty brief, but it's going to be quite an honour," he said.

And while it appears Mr. Wall will go to great lengths to promote Saskatchewan overseas (he travels to India next month), there is a limit to how far he'll push to get the province noticed.

Mr. Wall said he has no plans to try to convince the Queen that her grandson Prince William and his soon-to-be wife Kate Middleton should add Saskatchewan to the list of Canadian stops this summer. "We won't go there," Mr. Wall said.

Instead, he'll extend an invitation to anyone from the Royal Family to visit Regina next year when it celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the opening of its legislative building.

He'll sweeten the pitch by giving the Queen a gift of a glass sculpture of the historic building, which was made by a local artist. Mr. Wall is also bringing a set of Saskatchewan-authored children's books as a gift for the Queen's youngest grandchildren.

Mr. Wall made sure to brush up beforehand on his royal protocol, which includes no speaking until spoken to, never turning your back on the Queen and eating what is served, nothing more or less. As for the no-touching rule, which U.S. first lady Michelle Obama broke a couple years back, Mr. Wall is also prepared.

"Shaking hands is fine," Mr. Wall said, citing his pre-meeting notes from the palace. "And I'll try not to break anything."

Follow on Twitter: @BrendaBouw

 

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