The Australia media’s “We Willy willy like you” response to Prince William’s visit left the Crikey team with little doubt as to what the topic of this week’s Wankley would be. Stats from Media Monitors this week showed Wills was well up there with the Haiti disaster in terms of media mentions, but deciding on the winner was a much tougher ask with several high-quality nominations.

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Top contenders for the Wills Wankley included the Herald Sun, which featured front-page pics of Wills for the three days of his visit and finished today with four pages of riveting Wills drama for its “Royal Tour Souvenir Edition”:


The Herald Sun even ran the authoritative opinion of former Neighbours star Jason Donovan declaring that Wills could “reinvigorate and re-invent the royal family for Australians.”

“He’s the cool kid on the block that everybody wants to hang out with.”

That kind of hard-hitting analysis backing up the Willsmania sweeping the Australian media made it hard to be convinced by Malcolm Turnbull that the Prince’s visit has had no impact on Australians’ willingness to become a republic.

The Daily Telegraph couldn’t quite match the Herald Sun for Wills adoration in print, but it did compile this smashing online special.

The ABC also weighed in with a couple of potentially Wankley award-winning moments reporting on the minute of the Prince’s visit. ABC2 reported the “unqualified success” of his charm offensive, which included details on the crucial contents of Wills’ barbecue lunch (yes, he does eat lettuce and tomato) and highlights of his cricketing prowess:

Wills cricketing prowess and BBQ lunch (skip to the two-minute mark for all the gory details)

Melbourne’s ABC Radio 774 had the scoop on Casey Dellacqua being distracted by the Prince being in the stands during her second-round win in the Australian Open.

When he came in I wanted to give him a wave or curtsy or I don’t know what you’re supposed to do when the royal people come in but, yeah, nah that was pretty cool. (Click here to listen)

But by a narrow margin the Wankley award winner for this week goes to The Australian for its comprehensive coverage of Wills’ visit.

Lanai Vasek revealed the Prince’s varied music taste (Linkin Park and Kanye West) following on from these golden words about the rap welcome Wills received at  the Tedd Noffs Foundation:

Kanye West take note: da Prince Will-i-am likes your rap and he doesn’t care if his friends give him crap.

The Oz was also running hot with its coverage of Wills “hois[ting] blackened Victorian Towns from their despair” including these words on one of the many kisses Wills dished out during his visit:

Gushing Olivia McDonald, 21, was lucky enough to steal a kiss from the prince. “Oh my gosh, I want to marry him. I can’t believe it,” she said, jumping up and down. When a woman broke down in tears and thanked him for his show of support for Victoria’s fire-affected communities, Prince William replied with the sincerity his mother was known for.

But it was Caroline Overington who won it for The Australian by spiriting us away with her “fairytale” depiction of Prince William’s visit to Redfern in Sydney:

IMAGINE for a moment that you are a nine-year-old indigenous girl, and you’ve been told that a handsome young prince is coming to visit you.

What would you ask him about?

Little Peneloppee McGrath, who met Prince William on day one of his three-day Australian tour in Sydney’s Redfern yesterday, didn’t hesitate.

“Does your grandmother live in a big castle?” she asked.

“She does,” replied the prince.

The exchange was one of many that will linger long in the memories of more than 30 delighted indigenous children, and hundreds of other Australians, who met Prince William at the Redfern Community Centre yesterday.

And finally, we tip our hat to Mx for this week featuring an edition that stood firm against the tide of Willsmania by issuing a front-page warning that it did NOT contain any stories about the Prince. Great work.

Peter Fray

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