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Royal City status for Leicester

Volume 599: debated on Thursday 10 September 2015

The petition of residents of Leicester East,

Declares that the city of Leicester is one of the oldest settlements in the United Kingdom which over two millennia has developed into an area of major cultural and economic significance within the country and further that following the discovery of the remains of Richard III in the city, and his subsequent re-internment on Thursday 26th March in Leicester Cathedral, Leicester has established a clear and irrefutable royal connection.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons debates the possibility of Leicester being permitted to use the title ‘Royal’, and be attributed the title, 'The Royal City of Leicester'.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Keith Vaz, Official Report, 20 July 2015; Vol. 598, c. 1340.]

[P001535]

Observations from the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (John Penrose):

The title ‘Royal’ is a privilege granted by the Queen on the advice of Her Ministers. The title is granted extremely rarely, either in recognition of a very strong Royal connection or as a civic honour in recognition of a town or city’s unique contribution to public life. Only two towns have been granted the title during Her Majesty’s reign.

Leicester is right to be proud of its ancient history and as the location of the final burial place of King Richard III. That is a very strong and impressive case but, after careful consideration, I regret to say that it does not satisfy the extremely tough standards required to prove a truly exceptional Royal connection, which would enable me to make a recommendation to Her Majesty to bestow on the city the title Royal.

I am delighted to note that Leicester is already benefiting from a City Deal agreed in March 2014 and a Local Growth Deal secured in January 2014. These will ensure that Leicester continues to grow as an important cultural and economic centre.