The eight places that will become cities to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Eight places will become cities as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, including, clockwise from bottom right, Stanley in the Falkand Islands, Doncaster and Milton Keynes.
Credit: PA
A record eight places will become cities as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations Credit: PA

A record eight places have been awarded city status through a competition, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The competition to receive civic honours was last run 10 years ago to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and this year's list will see the first city created in an overseas territory and the first in a Crown dependency.

The announcement of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee civic honours brings the number of official cities in the mainland UK to 76, with 55 in England, eight in Scotland, seven in Wales and six in Northern Ireland.

Eight places won the royal honour this year ahead of the Jubilee weekend, which is the highest number of awards in a single competition. They are:

  • Colchester, England

  • Milton Keynes, England

  • Doncaster, England

  • Douglas, Isle of Man

  • Dunfermline, Scotland

  • Stanley, Falkland Islands

  • Wrexham, Wales

  • Bangor, Northern Ireland

The Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours Competition required applicants to demonstrate how their unique communities and distinct local identity meant they deserved to be awarded city status. They were also required to highlight their royal associations and cultural heritage. 

The competition for city status has taken place in each of the last three jubilee years, with previous winners including Chelmsford, Lisburn and Newport. 

Colchester will be the second town in Essex to be awarded city status in the past year, after Southend was awarded it last year.

Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “I am delighted that a record number of locations have been awarded the prestigious city status as part of Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebrations. 

"What was clear to me during the process of assessing each application was the pride that people felt for their communities, local cultural heritage and the Royal Family."

‘Letters Patent’ will now be prepared and will be presented to winners later in the year. 

Why were the towns chosen?

Here are the reasons cited by the government in making its decision, split into three different strands for each successful applicant.


  • History: Colchester is Britain’s first recorded settlement and its first capital.

  • Military links: a Garrison Town for the past 165 years, Colchester has, for the past 21 years, been home to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the UK’s rapid response force, which recently saw 750 soldiers from Colchester deployed to Kabul to help with the evacuation of UK citizens and others.

  • Cultural Infrastructure: Since the original submission for city status, Firstsite, Colchester’s contemporary Art Gallery has been named the winner of Art Fund museum of the Year 2021 securing the award and £100,000 prize.

Milton Keynes

  • History: Milton Keynes is the pinnacle of the national post-war planning movement, said the government. It is a new town started in the Queen's reign.

  • Cultural Infrastructure: The town has extensive cultural infrastructure including 27 conservation areas, 50 scheduled monuments, 1,100 listed buildings and 270 pieces of public art. With 84,500 citizens being volunteers, the town also claims to have a higher per head of population number of volunteers than any other UK city. 

  • Innovation: In 1969, the world’s first degree-awarding distance learning institution, the Open University, was established in Milton Keynes by Royal Charter. The Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has established the nation’s first independent medical school. Milton Keynes has been a trailblazer in sustainable housing design with exhibitions including Homeworld and Energy World. Milton Keynes was the first place to introduce kerbside recycling in the UK. It is also home to the UK’s first advanced waste treatment facility, which produces renewable energy for thousands of homes and businesses. Robots delivery vehicles are a common site in Milton Keynes. The borough also has the nation’s largest network of electric vehicle charge points.


  • Community spirit: Doncaster’s community spirit and resilience was demonstrated during Doncaster Floods in 2019 as the community rallied to provide relief. It has more than 70 places of worship and spirituality, with its mosques and gurdwaras serving as pop-up vaccination centres during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Rich history: Originally a Roman settlement, Doncaster is almost 2,000 years old. Its industrial heritage is built on rail and coal, with The Flying Scotsman and The Mallard both built there. Doncaster is synonymous with the St Leger, founded in 1776 and the oldest classic horse race in the world.

  • Royal link: The link between the Royal Family and horse racing is central to the relationship between Doncaster and Buckingham Palace, with regular attendance and involvement in the St Leger Festival by the Royal Family. The Prince of Wales (later George IV), The Duke of Clarence (later William IV), Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and HM The Queen have attended the St Leger Festival.

Doncaster Racecourse is cited as one of the reasons for the town's elevation to city status. Credit: PA

Douglas, Isle of Man

  • Royal links: The Queen is patron of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution which originates from Douglas. George IV was the original patron, before it became the RNLI under the patronage of Queen Victoria in 1854. The Lieutenant Governor of the Island from 1937 to 1945, was married to Lady Rose Bowes-Lyon, sister of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

  • Urban regeneration: The former industrial quayside area is now home to vibrant pubs, bars and restaurants with their outdoor areas overlooking the yacht haven in the inner harbour. The town centre retail area was given a major upgrade and the Promenade Improvement scheme will be completed in 2022.

  • Cultural hub: The Royal Hall is home to the annual flagship concerts by the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra, the Isle of Man Choral Society, and the Manx Last Night of the Proms. The annual Manx Music Festival (known locally as “The Guild”), which dates from 1892, is also held at the Villa Marina. There is also an Isle of Man Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2022 and the Cooish, an inter-Gaelic festival of language and culture organised by the Manx Gaelic Society.


  • Civic pride: In the first year of its reopening, Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries welcomed 200,000 visitors. The town also has the annual Outwith Music and Arts Festival. The annual fireworks display attracted around 30,000 local people while the Christmas lights event packed the town centre with 10,000 people in total.

  • Royal links: Dunfermline became the centre of Scottish kingship under the reign of Malcolm III. It was his principal residence and court, where he married his wife (Margaret of Wessex) in the first union of the crowns between England and Scotland.

  • Industrial heritage: Dunfermline’s most famous son is Andrew Carnegie, whose steel industry helped build America. His philanthropy started the world’s public library system, and he gave away the equivalent of $65bn in today’s money.

The Liberation monument in Stanley, Falkland Islands. Credit: PA

Stanley, Falkland Islands

  • Royal link: The island celebrates the Queen’s birthday on 21 April. The islands are regularly visited by the royal family, starting with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1957. In 2016, the Duke of Cambridge was deployed to the Falkland Islands, spending a six-week tour there as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. 

  • Sustainable practices: Exceptional fisheries management has been paramount to the long-term sustainability of the industry. With its maritime focus and expansion of its fishing sector in recent years, Stanley is home to the Government Fisheries Departments, which has seen the development of a range of world-leading bycatch mitigation measures.

  • Civic pride: Despite a relatively short history, there are celebrations of holidays specific to the Falkland Islands such as Peat Cutting Monday. The Stanley Sports Race Meeting, taking place annually on 26 and 27 December includes horse racing and gymkhana events. The events and anniversary of the Falklands War is also a moment when the Islanders come together to remember the sacrifice given, with 2022 marking 40 years since the conflict. 


  • Internationally renowned: The architectural heritage of the area was recognised when UNESCO deemed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct a World Heritage Site (describing it as "a masterpiece of creative genius").

  • Culturally significant: Wrexham Football Club was established in 1864, is the third oldest in the UK and has the world’s oldest international ground. The importance of the football club has been recognised by the decision to make Wrexham home to the new National Football Museum of Wales.

  • Innovation hub: Over the past decade the town has been one of the fastest growing retail centres in the UK and is now home to a range of businesses and industries, including JCB and Kellogg’s as well as aerospace firms such as Magellen and Cytec.

A view of the Long Hole, a historical landmark in Bangor. Credit: PA


  • Community spirit: The annual Civic Awards have categories for Community and Good Neighbour excellence. In 2018, the Council added Health and Social Care staff to its list of ‘Freemen of the Borough’, being the first council in Northern Ireland to recognise health in this way.

  • Historical significance: Bangor has a naval heritage. Due to its location at the mouth of the Belfast Lough, it became a key site for allied forces during the Second World War. In May 1944, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower, gave a speech to 30,000 assembled troops in Bangor, shortly before ships left for Normandy and D-Day.

  • Royal links: In 1961, The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited Bangor Castle, had lunch at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, before The Duke raced in the regatta. In 1903, Edward VII visited Bangor in 1903, sailing out of Bangor on the Royal Yacht with Queen Alexandra following a tour of Ireland as part of the Coronation celebrations.

What makes a city?

Isn't a city just a big town with a cathedral?

City status in the UK has long been associated with having a cathedral, but city status is dependent on a royal approval.

According to Mark Sandford, an expert in local government, the connection is historical. In the past cities were settlements with a cathedral, so some small places which are now regarded as small - such as Ely - have long had city status.

A cathedral is not a requirement for city status. Birmingham was the first town without a cathedral to become a city, in 1889.

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How is city status won?

Over the last 20 years - city status has been awarded through competition, usually held to mark a special occasion.

In 2000 Brighton, Inverness and Wolverhampton were awarded city status to mark the new Millennium.

In 2002 Newport in Wales, Preston, Stirling, , Lisburn and Newry were awarded the honour to mark the Golden Jubilee

Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph were granted city status in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee.

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Are there any benefits to becoming a city?

According to the think tank Centre for Cities UK cities 21% more productive than non-urban areas and host 72% of all highly skilled jobs.

Essex councillors say that Chelmsford has benefitted from becoming a city in 2012 - seeing large scale investments in housing, new retail opportunities and plans for a second train station.

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What other myths are there?

Some people think that having a Lord Mayor implies city status - but you can only use the title officially if you've had letters patent granted by the monarch. Having a lord mayor is not an indicator of city status.

Only a few Cities are 'permanent' - London is one of a handful in the country which can claim it has been a city from 'time immemorial'.

Rochester in Kent lost its individual city status after a local government reorganisation back in the 1970s.

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