Prince of Wales seals Southend’s city status

Southend finally became England’s 52nd city today as HRH The Prince of Wales with the Duchess of Cornwall officially presented the document of city status, an honour bestowed by the Queen following the death of MP Sir David Amess last year.

It was the culmination of a campaign Sir David had supported passionately for many years before being fatally stabbed at a constituency surgery in October.

The prince, who recalled a conversation he had with Sir David in 2014, described the veteran MP’s death as “an attack on democracy” and drew comparisons with the situation in Ukraine, in which he said the same values were under attack in “the most unconscionable way.”

Lady Julia Amess was given the very first freedom of the city on behalf of her husband.

Former MP Ann Widdecombe read a statement from the family, saying: “How thrilled our husband and father would have been to know Her Majesty the Queen has bestowed such a huge honour to the people of Southend-on-Sea in his name.”

The leader of the Conservatives on Southend Council, Tony Cox, said: “One person was responsible for Southend becoming a city and that was Sir David Amess.

The duke and duchess later visited the seafront where they unveiled a new pier train named after Sir David.

Camilla Duchess of Cornwall

Mick Ferris

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