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The UK’s new ‘jubilee cities’

Eight towns have been honoured to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne

Eight new cities have been created in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with at least one named in every UK nation.

The cities were awarded their new status as part of the 2022 Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours competition, which has taken place in each of the last three jubilee years. Previous winners include Lisburn and Newport in 2002 and Chelmsford in 2012.

Applicants had to demonstrate why their “unique communities and distinct local identity was deserving of city status”, as well as being required to “highlight their royal associations and cultural heritage” to a panel of judges, said The Guardian.

It also marked the first time the competition was open to crown dependencies and overseas territories, with Stanley in the Falklands, and Douglas in the Isle of Man, both winning city status. 

The newly created cities can “expect a boost to local communities and the opening up of new opportunities for people who live there”, said the BBC. One previous winner, Perth, in Scotland, “saw the local economy expand by 12% in the decade it was granted city status”.

The awards take the number of official cities in mainland UK to 76, with 55 in England, eight in Scotland, seven in Wales and six in Northern Ireland. Here is the full list of the new cities.

1

Bangor, Northern Ireland

With a population of 61,000, the new city of Bangor was a key site for allied forces during the Second World War, due to its location at the mouth of the Belfast Lough. 

It has seen some significant historical visitors over the years, with Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Dwight D. Eisenhower giving a speech to 30,000 assembled troops there shortly before ships left for Normandy and the D-Day invasion. 

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited Bangor Castle in 1961 before lunch at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club in the run-up to Prince Philip racing in the regatta. 

2

Colchester, England

Colchester was Britain’s first recorded settlement and its first capital city. For the past 165 years, it has been a garrison town, home to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the UK’s rapid response force.

With a population of 119,441, it is the second Essex town to become a city this year “after Southend was given the status in October following the death of MP David Amess, who often championed its campaign for city status”, said the BBC.

3

Doncaster, England

Doncaster, which has a population of 110,000, has made “three previous attempts for city status”, said The Guardian. Originally a Roman settlement, the South Yorkshire city is almost 2,000 years old.

It is home to the St Ledger horse race, the oldest “classic” in the world, founded in 1776, which has been regularly attended by the Queen and other royals throughout history, including George IV. 

4

Douglas, Isle of Man

Home to some 27,000 people, Douglas has links to the royal family through the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which was founded in the city and has the Queen as its patron. 

Its cultural highlights “include the annual Manx Music Festival, dating from 1892, and the Isle of Man Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year,” said The Guardian.

5

Dunfermline, Scotland

Dunfermline’s most famous former resident is Andrew Carnegie, “whose steel industry helped build America”, said the BBC. His generosity started the world's public library system, and throughout his life, he gave away “the equivalent of £65bn in today's money”.

The Scottish city’s royal links stretch back to the Middle Ages as it was one of the seats of the kings of Scotland. Robert the Bruce was buried in Dunfermline Abbey after his death in 1329.

6

Milton Keynes, England

Created in 1967 “to alleviate housing shortages in overcrowded London”, according to the BBC, Milton Keynes described itself in its bid as “the pinnacle of the national postwar planning movement”.

It has “27 conservation areas, 50 scheduled monuments, 1,100 listed buildings and 270 pieces of public art”, according to The Guardian, and has a population of 223,000.

7

Stanley, Falkland Islands

The award of city status to Stanley (population: 2,100) is of “particular significance for the Royal Family”, said Sky News. Prince Andrew served as a helicopter pilot on HMS Invincible during the Falklands War, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.

Prince William also spent six weeks based there as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

8

Wrexham, Wales

The Welsh city is home to 61,000 people, as well as Wrexham Football Club, which was established in 1864. It is thought to be the third oldest club in the UK with “the world’s oldest international ground”, said The Guardian. 

The club is owned by two Hollywood stars, actor Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Close by is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a Unesco world heritage site described as a “masterpiece of creative genius”.

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