The Queen has made a historic designation to a village in Northern Ireland, making it the first in the country to receive Royal Status.
The village of Hillsborough, where Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Her Majesty’s official Northern Ireland residence is located, received the honour earlier this week in an announcement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis.
The village’s new official name will become Royal Hillsborough.
In a statement on the UK Government’s website, Lewis said: “This is fantastic news for the village of Hillsborough, a truly wonderful place that deserves this special honour.
“The village’s Royal status reflects the beauty of Hillsborough as well as its unique history and close connections to the Royal family through Hillsborough Castle.
“I have been privileged to enjoy Hillsborough Castle and the village of Hillsborough over the past year with my family, as have many other Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland before me.
“I hope this news will attract many more visitors to the area and the whole of Northern Ireland, as well as boosting further investment and local jobs as we level up right across the United Kingdom.”
This announcement comes as Northern Ireland marks its centenary year.
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens is officially managed by the Historic Royal Palaces, which offers tours of the residence and its surrounding gardens, which are located on 100 acres. The famed garden was developed in the 1760s, and feature special areas such as the Walled Garden and the Granville Garden, which was designed by The Queen’s maternal aunt in the 1940s and 1950s.
Laura McCorry, Head of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, said: “This very welcome news will provide a much-needed boost for tourism in Hillsborough, after a challenging year for the entire industry.
“Hillsborough is a truly remarkable place, with so much to offer visitors – rich history, stunning surroundings and brilliant spots to eat, drink and shop.
Sitting at the heart of all of this is the castle we’re privileged to care for, which has been the backdrop for many milestones in the history of Northern Ireland.
“This week, we’re thrilled to be welcoming visitors back inside Hillsborough Castle again. We’re hopeful that this announcement will help us to really put Hillsborough on the map as a tourism destination, inspiring visitors from across Northern Ireland and beyond to come and see everything we have to offer.”