Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's about Time. Greenwich to Be Royal Borough after 500-Year Wait

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's about Time. Greenwich to Be Royal Borough after 500-Year Wait

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Lydall Chief News Correspondent

A REGAL HISTORY DATING BACK TO TUDOR DAYS HENRY VIII and his daughter Elizabeth were born at their palace there, Anne Boleyn danced in the grounds and Charles II built the Royal Observatory, now part of the National Maritime Museum.

But it has taken more than 500 years for Greenwich's connections with the monarchy to be officially recognised by being made a royal borough.

The Queen is bestowing the honour as part of the celebrations to mark her Diamond Jubilee in the same year that Greenwich hosts several Olympic events.

From 1 January, 2012, Greenwich will join Kingston, Kensington and Chelsea and Windsor and Maidenhead as royal boroughs. Kingston was the last to receive the honour in 1927.

The Queen's decision follows behindthe-scenes negotiations between Greenwich and senior figures in government and at Buckingham Palace after the borough failed to win city status to mark the Millennium.

Lord Sterling, chairman of trustees of Greenwich's National Maritime Museum, was said to be "instrumental" in securing the Queen's approval.

Greenwich council leader Chris Roberts said he felt "elated, proud, honoured", adding: "I couldn't be happier. It's just a great sense of civic pride for the borough. There is no doubt in the course of time it will potentially reflect on all those who live in the borough and those who visit it."

Mr Roberts said the honour, which is regarded as "an exceptional mark of royal favour" but which does not result in additional money or powers, was likely to require all street signs in the borough to be replaced.

He said: "People living in Greenwich will want it to say 'Royal Borough of Greenwich' on the street sign. The borough's coat of arms may need to change and the mayor's chain may need to be adjusted. We will be talking to people about that."

The decision was announced yesterday by Lord Mandelson in the House of Lords. The Government said the Queen had made the decision "in recognition of the very close links between Greenwich and the monarchy as well as Greenwich's global significance". …

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