Bookies take odds if royals will don cowboy hats

When the royals touched down in Calgary afternoon, one of the first things they were presented with were two of the city's trademark white cowboy hats — and gamblers were watching.

Royal couple also to get custom cowboy boots

Ben Gerwin shows off the boots his company made especially for Prince William and Kate. (CBC)
When the royals touched down in Calgary on Thursday afternoon, one of the first things they were presented with were two of the city's trademark white cowboy hats.

It was unclear in the lead-up to the event whether Kate and William would be obliged to recite the tongue-in-cheek oath that sometimes goes along with the hatting ceremony. In the end, it wasn't known what words passed between them and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi on the tarmac at Calgary International Airport as he gave them the hats. The blustery winds prevented microphones from picking up their exchange.

One thing was for certain, however: Kate and William did not don the Smithbilt headgear they received.

London bookmakers had been taking wagers on whether the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would deign to put the hats on, according to Nenshi.

"I understand that there are betting websites taking bets on whether they will don the white cowboy hat," he said.

Some commentators said it was a disappointment that the pair didn't try on the Smithbilts, but they held out hope that Will and Kate would do so later on at a more appropriate venue, either Thursday evening at a government reception on the Stampede grounds or Friday when they kick-off the Stampede parade.

To round out their western duds, William and Kate also received custom-made ostrich and kangaroo cowboy boots.

William and Kate will each be presented with a standard-issue Calgary white cowboy hat on Thursday. (CBC)
"We're all very excited. We think they've turned out just amazing. And we hope that they love them as much as we do," said boot maker Ben Gerwin from Alberta Boot Company.

Kate's boots, made with a lighter-brown leather, are also a few inches taller, with a 15-inch top, he said.

"We figured if she's wearing skirts or dresses she can show 'em off." 

The only question now is whether the boots will fit the royal couple, Gerwin said. The company was provided with William and Kate's shoe sizes, but no other measurements.

Gerwin's grandfather presented Prince Charles and Prince Andrew with boots to mark their visits to the city in 1977.

"It's really nice to be able to carry on the family tradition, and keep it going with royals," he said.