February 17, 2011 -- A bovine touch for the grounds of Buckingham Palace? A herd of cows may be headed to the royal residence, home to the largest private garden in London.
The South African discount airline Kulula is urging Prince William to observe an African engagement tradition. "Lobola," translated roughly as "bride price," is a custom under which the groom pays his fiancee's family for her hand in marriage. The compensation is often in cattle.
Kulula's Nadine Damen says the prince must be swamped right now with wedding plans and work, so the airline is stepping up to help him and his bride. Kulula and its faithful flyers are sending "the finest cows we can get our hands on in order to make their happy day even more special."
How many cows? Kulula launched a "Cows4Kate" Facebook page where fans can vote on the size of the herd. To avoid shipping costs and carbon emissions generated by sending cows from South Africa to Britain, Kulula says the animals will be from the U.K. and herded to Buckingham Palace as soon as Kate's family signs off on the moo-ving gift.
The Middletons are unlikely to say yes. Will and Kate have already returned a number of presents from commercial givers. A Buckingham Palace official says the couple "have a policy of not accepting gifts from commercial organisations for the royal wedding. Prince William and Miss Middleton are genuinely incredibly touched and grateful but they just cannot accept them."
As royal patron of the African conservation charity, Tusk Trust, Prince William has frequently visited southern Africa. Kulula hopes to tempt the royal couple south for a relaxing honeymoon.
"Let's face it, weddings are expensive and times are still tough," says Damen. "With all the royal pomp the Brits demand, we're sure the royal couple will be looking for some cheap, but lovely, deals in a warm climate to get over the whole thing,"
Click here for more on the Tusk Trust and Prince William's role in his own words.