"St. George’s masterplan unveiled," read a bold heading in The Royal Gazette one day last month. "On-street alfresco dining, a waterfront hotel and two marinas with space for visiting multi-million dollar yachts are among concepts featured in a new masterplan for St. George’s.
"A grand vision of the future has been captured on a draft blueprint for the transformation of the town, presented in today’s Royal Gazette for the first time, which would see Ordnance Island become a centrepiece visitor attraction."
We'd never heard of Ordnance Island, but guessed it must be somewhere near the mouth of London's River Thames. We were wrong. The Royal Gazette, with a coat-of-arms showing the lion and the unicorn fighting for the crown on its masthead, is published thousands of miles from Buckingham Palace, in Bermuda, a group of small islands in the Atlantic.
Bermuda's only daily newspaper has proudly carried its impressive name since 1828. These days, it prints more than 16,000 copies, and claims to reach more than 90 percent of the adult market.
Bermuda, 568 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, is further north than the Caribbean islands. It's not just one island at the apex of the infamous Bermuda Triangle, as many people imagine, but comprises about 180 islands. Causeways or bridges connect seven of the largest.
Bermuda's paper is by no means the world's only Royal Gazette. There are three others in Canada's maritime provinces, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, which were politically distinct until joining the Canadian confederation in 1867. But they're not nearly as interesting.
Nova Scotia's Royal Gazette began life as the Halifax Gazette, Canada's first newspaper, and the third oldest on the North American continent. It's still published as the Province's official weekly government record of proclamations and other statutory notices.
Similarly, on Prince Edward Island, the Royal Gazette's official website proclaims "As outlined in the Queen's Printer Act 'all advertisements, notices, and documents whatever relating to matters within the control of the Legislature and that are by any law required to be published, shall be published in the Gazette unless any other mode of publication is prescribed by law.'"
New Brunswick's Royal Gazette is bilingual, and has an interesting coat-of-arms.
"The supporters on either side of the shield are white-tailed deer with antlers, each with a small shield or escutcheon suspended from a friendship collar of Maliseet wampum, the original of which is in the New Brunswick Museum," the Government website explains.
"One shield bears the Union Badge representing the British connection in New Brunswick's history and the early English, Scots and Irish settlers; the other bears the Royal Arms of France, the symbol of public authority during the French regime, and refers to the French settlement in the province."
Finally, we discovered an ancient and highly-esteemed publication called The London Gazette. No Royal in its title, but its masthead does bear the royal coat-of-arms. "Registered as a newspaper, Published by Authority, Established in 1665," it says, which makes it the world's oldest English-language newspaper.
Here's an extract from the London Gazette's account of its history:
The world's oldest newspapers, still in circulation, all founded in the 17th century, are:-