Greenwich Becomes Royal Borough

January 5, 2010 by  

The London Borough of Greenwich will join an elite group of "Royal Boroughs" as part of HM The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it has been announced.

The Queen's gracious decision to bestow this rare honour on Greenwich was announced today by Lord Mandelson in the House of Lords. It will come into effect from 2012 - the year that marks Elizabeth II's 60th year as Queen.

At present, the only other Royal Boroughs are  Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston, and Windsor and Maidenhead. Royal Borough status is awarded only to boroughs that have a long association with the monarchy.

Greenwich Council leader, Chris Roberts, was at the House of Lords today to hear the announcement and commented afterwards:

“The residents, businesses and the millions of visitors to Greenwich will share in our delight at this wonderful news. Greenwich has always taken tremendous pride in the borough’s long history of royal connections with Greenwich, Woolwich and Eltham dating back almost 600 years and which continue so strongly right up to the present day.

“I would like to thank everyone who has backed the borough to receive this honour over many years - especially our many partners in the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. In particular, I would like to personally thank Lord Sterling, Chairman of Trustees at the National Maritime Museum, who has been instrumental in promoting this honour for Greenwich and in ensuring the borough’s many treasures are promoted and recognised by all.”

Councillor Nigel Fletcher, Opposition Spokesman for Culture on Greenwich Council, responded to the news by saying:

“This is wonderful news, and a huge tribute to our great Borough and the importance of its heritage. As the birthplace of Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and with so many other Royal links, it is truly appropriate that we should be given this honour by The Queen, who amongst her many titles is also Lady Greenwich.

“We have repeatedly campaigned for our heritage and Royal connections to be more properly celebrated by the Council, and I have often said that Royal Borough status would be fitting. I am delighted that it will now happen in 2012, when the eyes of the world will be on us for the Olympics.”

Greenwich and Woolwich MP, Nick Raynsford commented:

‘This is fantastic news for Greenwich and a well-merited recognition of the Borough’s substantial long-standing royal connections. King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I were both born in Greenwich which was home to the principal Royal palace of the time. The royal connection continued into the Stuart era when Queen Anne of Denmark, the wife of James I, commissioned the Queen’s House, the first true Renaissance building in England, and King Charles II began the construction of what is now the old Royal Naval College, one of Britain’s finest Baroque masterpieces. The Queen’s House has since become part of the National Maritime Museum, which enjoys the patronage of the Duke of Edinburgh along with the Cutty Sark.

HRH Queen Elizabeth II herself opened the new Planetarium and our present monarch has remained a regular visitor to the Borough. I am particularly delighted that Greenwich’s royal title will come into effect in 2012, which coincides with the world-focus on the Borough with its hosting of 2012 Olympic events including the equestrian events and modern pentathlon in Greenwich Park, basketball and gymnastics in the O2, and shooting and paralympic archery at the historic Royal Artillery Barracks’.

Lord Mandelson also announced today that there will be an extra public holiday in 2012 to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.


25 Responses to “Greenwich Becomes Royal Borough”

  1. Robert Gray (No 16) on January 5th, 2010 4:04 pm

    Congrats, to all in Greenwich.I`m sitting on a windswept beach in darkest Cornwall.

  2. sabret00the on January 5th, 2010 4:26 pm

    Congratulations. Hopefully this spurs on some innovative changes in Greenwich. Like linking Greenwich Station and the o2 for example.

  3. H on January 5th, 2010 6:44 pm

    I’m not a royalist but I am rather pleased about this new title. I’m not sure what tangible benefits it will have apart from some local pride to spur on our contribution to the Olympics, but I do hope it generates a bit of attention for the borough

  4. Church Mouse on January 5th, 2010 7:04 pm

    Looking forward to the sign at the Bexley and Lewisham borders saying “You are now leaving Royal Greenwich”

  5. John on January 6th, 2010 12:49 am

    Took enough time

  6. Mary F on January 6th, 2010 9:54 am

    I note that Raynsford has to get the plug in about the Olympics….yawn

    scared of chives Reply:

    Agree…why can’t they just mention its royal status rather than the ******* Olympics

  7. Michael Goldman on January 6th, 2010 11:58 am

    Conferring Royal status on Greenwich is indeed great news. It is, however, ironic that 2012 is the year when Greenwich Park is due to be used (or, more accurately, abused) for the Olympic equestrian events. I wonder what the Queen really thinks about this most inappropriate use of one of the Royal Parks.

  8. MSFCE on January 6th, 2010 3:49 pm

    Trust Raynsford to shoot his mouth off. In Simon Hoggart’s Guardian sketch today he says that “we learned that there would be no link between the jubilee and the Olympics, later that year …. it’s a pity: the Queen taking part in the beach volleyball would have been a high spot for thousands.”

  9. PLJAIKJ on January 6th, 2010 5:20 pm

    When Raynsford refers to the hosting of the equestrian events in Greenwich Park, does he not mean PROPOSED hosting since this is subject to planning permission? Or has he fixed it?

    Also the press release on this royal status from Greenwich Council has notes to editors, which say in para 5: “Greenwich Park will host the equestrian events”.
    Is the planning application process just a multi-million pound charade if permission is a foregone conclusion?

    Perhaps Czarist Borough of Greenwich may be a more appropriate title!

  10. Neil Rhind on January 6th, 2010 7:51 pm

    While it may be nice to award Greenwich Royal borough status I am not sure whether the lads and lasses with such bright ideas ever think through what they propose, probably solely for some transient PR reason. Certainly not by using their common sense. After all, Greenwich has been the Royal Manor of East Greenwich since before Elizabeth I took the throne.

    Greenwich in recent decades has been called Greenwich Borough Council, the London Borough of Greenwich and is now plain old Greenwich Council. Each time the name changes the long-suffering Council Tax payer stumps up for all the new letterheads, public signs, street names, a bit of Mayor’s chain of office, departmental memorandum sheets, all local school books and sign boards, and all the other tiresome its and bits which need amendment. An expert graphics designer will be required and his/her fee won’t be small. Remember London Transport’s translation into Transport for London when Ken Livingstone was in charge. It cost a fortune of our money and made no difference whatsoever in keeping the trains and buses running on time.

    If Greenwich is to become a Royal borough what will it be called? Surely nothing as drab as Royal Greenwich Council – and will Government hand over a large bag of cash to effect the changes? The money could come out of the £42m budget for the Equestrian Olympics in Greenwich. Now that would be a heritage gain out of 2012.

    ssealy Reply:

    Neil Rhind’s comment is an interesting one.
    However, I believe some of the detail is flawed. A borough is an administrative district and the word is used to refer more to its geopgraphics, while ‘Council’ refers to the governance. The statement that the borough is now known as ‘Greenwich Council’ is therefore inaccurate.

    Paul Reply:

    And the comment that all the school books will be changed is… bizarre.

  11. steve on January 7th, 2010 11:15 am

    This is excellent news… yet another legacy of having the 2012 Games in Greenwich:)

    Now just waiting for more good news of the planning permission for the equestrian event being granted! Bring it on… Greenwich is changing and it’s about time!

    scared of chives Reply:

    go away steve

  12. Indigo on January 7th, 2010 11:59 am

    @steve January 7th, 2010 11:15 am

    It is nothing to do with the Olympics.

    Her Majesty has graciously agreed “as a mark of royal favour, to confer royal borough status on the London borough of Greenwich. This rare honour is to be bestowed in recognition of the historically close links forged between Greenwich and our royal family from the middle ages to the present day, and of the borough’s global significance as the home of the prime meridian, Greenwich mean time and a UNESCO world heritage site.” (Ian Lucas, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Business and Regulatory Reform), Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, speaking in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee debate in the House of Commons, 5 January 2010.)

    See – links between Greenwich and the royal family since the Middle Ages, home of the prime meridian (since, I think, 1886), and being a World Heritage Site. Nothing so crappy and temporary and obscenely expensive as the Olympics.

  13. Ian Brown on January 7th, 2010 11:27 pm

    Should be good for property prices, up, up and up, I think to celebrate we should permanently pedestrianise the town centre blocking all through traffic seven days per week.

  14. Mark on January 16th, 2010 4:39 pm

    There is already a plan being developed to pedestrainise the centre of Greenwich You can find sketches on their site.

    You must have had the council press release in front of you. Nearly word perfect. lol

    My view.
    Well while it may be an honour (of sorts) I do not feel it will make any difference to the area. After 40 years of Labour rule – yes the last time the Conservatives were elected was 1968 – we seem to be no better off in in many areas we have gone backwards.

    Oh bring on the Olympics.

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  17. Jason on September 1st, 2011 12:43 pm

    Does this mean I get a title? Born and living in Greenwich! Proud!

  18. liz on September 11th, 2011 3:54 pm

    We were always aroyal Borough as you can see with Greenwich Palace, many of the British kings n Queen’s were born and bred here lol. we wondered why the roal status was not there before????

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  20. T Horan on January 9th, 2012 7:33 pm

    Congratullations to Greenwich. I always thought you were a royal borough anyway, so this is just a belated recognition of the fact.

  21. Steve on February 3rd, 2012 5:29 pm

    I still have yet to hear a single coherent argument as to why the awarding of a Royal Charter to Greenwich is anything other than an utter irrelevance. Realistically, what does this actually change?

    The only argument of any kind I’ve heard to date is that there will be some kind of swelling of civic pride in the borough as a result. Seriously? Are we that feeble minded and suggestible that our feelings for Greenwich can be manipulated by the mere hint of an association with the monarchy?

    I’m sure it’s been a nice little ego trip for our locally elected representatives, and no doubt allows them the pretence that they are more important, more worthy than they were yesterday (though I suspect these are feelings that were far from in need of a boost) and provide an excellent excuse for a knees up and a photo op.

    Me? I’ll stick to looking forward to the Olympics and the genuine warm glow this will give me about my Borough and my City. At least that will provide something tangible.