A LLANGOLLEN man’s book which links the region’s historic cattle drovers to Al Capone has won the royal seal of approval for the second time.
Author Idris Evans sent a copy of his work, Hard Road to London, to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their Anglesey home before they returned to London.
The book is now on the shelves of two royal households, as Idris also sent a copy of the book to Prince Charles three years ago.
Now Idris has received a thank you note from Prince William to add to the one he got from Wills’ father Charles in 2010.
He said he was delighted with his second slice of royal recognition and hoped the royal couple would enjoy the book.
He said: “To have a copy of the book that has an Anglesey and a London connection is something they may cherish.”
Mr Evans spent years researching the history of the drovers, who herded cattle from Wales to market in London before the advent of the railways in the mid 19th century.
Mr Evans became fascinated with the drovers while he was living in Rhewl, near Ruthin.
“My house at the time was one of the main places the drovers stayed overnight on their way to London,” he said.
Since the publication of his book a whole new world of interesting links has opened up for Mr Evans.
One person who got in touch after reading the book was childhood friend Brenda Sandie, who emigrated to Australia when she was 17.
Her love of horses led her to marry an Australian cattle drover whose expertise was put to use when he acted as technical adviser on a number of films, including one starring Nicole Kidman.
Another link created by the book is with Monty Roberts, a famous American horse expert who was technical adviser on the Robert Redford film The Horse Whisperer.
Mr Roberts has asked Mr Evans to help him research his Welsh ancestry, which he believes has its roots in the Brecon Beacons.
But perhaps most intriguing of all was the discovery by Mr Evans of a connection between the Welsh drovers and notorious gangster Al Capone.
He said: “My research shows that when the railways came in and put them out of a job a number of drovers emigrated to America, including the father of a man named Llewellyn Morys Humphreys.
“He trained as a lawyer and went on to become the right-hand man of Capone in the 1930s.
“As Capone had trouble with the Welsh pronunciations, he called him Llew the Hump and that is how he became known,” Mr Evans.
Despite giving his talks on the drovers Mr Evans, who runs Steptoe’s in Ruthin, has found time to pen a second book called Funny How You Forget, detailing his early life on a remote Welsh hill farm.