The Placentia Area Historical Society welcomed a visiting Royal couple to the O'Reilly House Museum on September 14, 2012, as part of their four day visit to Placentia. They are the Earl and Countess of St Andrews and have ties to the British Royal family. Lord St Andrews is the grandson of King George V and is the eldest son and heir to the Duke of Kent. They were in Placentia as it is the birth place of Lady St Andrews.
She had been invited to Placentia to take part in the 350th. Anniversary that is being celebrated to commemorate the founding of Placentia as a French capital in 1662. Alongside this notable keystone in the history of the Placentia area, the Anniversary also celebrates the diversity of groups and nations that have collectively forged the unique history of the community.
The visit to the O'Reilly House Museum was hosted by President Tom O'Keefe and Vice-President Christopher Newhook. The Vice-President subsequently led a tour of the museum, providing an explanation of its numerous artefacts. The royal couple showed an interest in all the community's history and displays in the museum. They expressed a particular interest in the resettlement display, the Basque headstones, and the French occupation. They also admired a Tipstaff that had been used by Prince William Henry while he acted as naval surrogate judge during the summer in 1786. Another artefact the Royal couple noted was a tea set that had been used to serve Prince William Henry when he visited. The Royal couple also displayed a keen interest in the photos of Argentia where the Countess' Austrian father had worked as a contractor and lived in Freshwater with his French wife.
The PAHS officers took a particular interest in showing the visitors Bernard Penney's model of the former cottage hospital in Placentia where Lady St Andrews had been born. Town official Margie Hatfield who was accompaning the couple to their next engagement pointed to the particular room in the model where the Countess would have arrived in this world. Councillor Wayne Power also accompanied the visitors.
The Royal couple were no doubt engaged as the visit lasted well beyond the time allotted in the schedule.