Towns around the UK are finalising bids for a very special celebration linked to the Platinum Jubilee – the chance to become a city.
City status will be granted to several places around the country to mark the 70th anniversary of The Queen’s reign and several high profile contenders are already staking their claim to the prize.
Southend-on-Sea in Essex, Medway in Kent, Swindon in Wiltshire and Dudley in the West Midlands have all confirmed they will be vying for city status as has Newport on the Isle of Wight and Ballymena, in County Antrim. Bangor in County Down is considering a bid as is Dumfries and the Welsh town of Wrexham.
Contenders have until December 8th to make their bids but many of the most ambitious councils are already outlining why they think their areas should be named as cities.
The government launched the competition on June 8th 2021 and hasn’t confirmed how many places will win the status. In 2012, for the Diamond Jubilee, four towns became cities with one chosen from each part of the UK – Chelmsford (England), Perth (Scotland) , St. Asaph (Wales) and Armagh (Northern Ireland). However, that format hasn’t been highlighted for this competition.
City status is often granted for major royal celebrations. The Platinum Jubilee competition will be the first to be open to areas in the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.
There is also the opportunity for existing cities to apply for a Lord Mayoralty, or Lord Provostship in Scotland. This is usually given to long standing cities and allows their civic leader to be known as Lord Mayor or Lord Provost.
The decision on which areas have been given city status will be announced in 2022 as the Platinum Jubilee gets well and truly under way. Elizabeth II will mark the 70th anniversary of her reign on February 6th 1952 but will keep the date privately as it is also the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI. Celebrations for her seven decades as Monarch will take place throughout the year with the main events happening on a special weekend from June 2nd to June 5th 2022.