Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire is to become the first hospital in the East of England to be given a royal title.

The specialist heart and lung centre is being given the honour because of its pioneering history, and will now be renamed 'Royal Papworth Hospital' after the Queen approved the change.

Papworth treats around 100,000 patients from across the country every year and became famous for a series of medical "firsts" in the late 20th Century - including the UK's first successful heart transplant in 1979 and the world's first successful heart, lung and liver transplant in 1986.

Papworth was founded in 1918. Credit: PA

The Trust is due to move to a new, state-of-the-art hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus next year and bosses say that receiving the royal title is the icing on the cake.

"We are absolutely delighted to receive this honour from Her Majesty The Queen at such an exciting time in our history," Papworth Hospital Chief Executive Stephen Posey said.

"The royal title is a fitting tribute to the many talented, committed staff members who have made Papworth what it is today, and I hope it will inspire more people to join us and be part of our future.

"We have a busy year ahead as we prepare to move into our new hospital and we look forward to celebrating this news properly as part of our centenary celebrations in 2018."

Davina Thompson (left) and Matthew Green (right) were both saved by surgeons at Papworth. Credit: PA

Papworth's illustrious history

  • 1979 - UK’s first successful heart transplant operation takes place at the hospital

  • 1986- The world's first heart, lung and liver transplant is performed at the hospital

  • 2006 - Papworth performs the UK’s first beating heart transplant

  • 2011 - The UK’s first Total Artificial Heart patient, Matthew Green, is discharged. It was the first time that a patient was allowed to return home with an entirely artificial heart

  • 2011 - The Duke of Edinburgh is treated for a blocked coronary artery at the hospital

  • 2015 - Europe's first successful heart transplant using a non-beating heart is carried out at Papworth