Nova Scotia government documents show a recent compromise on the use of the royal designation received by Cape Breton's Gaelic College was first floated in December, shortly after a backlash over the decision to change the school's name.

Obtained by The Canadian Press under access-to-information legislation, the documents also show the province took a largely hands off approach to the brewing controversy.

A briefing note prepared for the college's board of governors by school CEO Rodney MacDonald was forwarded to a provincial official on Dec. 12.

It contains a recommendation from MacDonald to the board, although MacDonald informs the official that has not included the recommendation.

A subsequent government email speculates a compromise would see the royal designation accepted and recognized with a small plaque on site, although the name would not be used in day-to-day business.

In fact, the board didn't vote to drop the royal designation until March 2, and the compromise wasn't announced until a March 7 posting on the college's website.