Royal visit to seal Southend’s city status

Southend-on-Sea will celebrate becoming a city on Tuesday March 1, with a visit from Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will present the letters patent to the Mayor of Southend, Cllr Margaret Borton, confirming city status at a formal council meeting. The meeting starts at 11.10am and will be webcast and livestreamed on the council’s YouTube channel.

A community-led bid for city status was going be submitted in December 2021 as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. However, three days after the shock killing of Southend West MP Sir David Amess, The Prime Minister announced that Her Majesty the Queen would grant Southend-on-Sea city status as a tribute to the man who campaigned so passionately for Southend to become a city.

His widow, Lady Amess, will receive the first ‘Freedom of the City’ on behalf of her late husband as part of the celebrations.

Their Royal Highnesses will also unveil a new eco-friendly pier train, which will be named after Sir David.

Cllr Margaret Borton, Mayor of Southend, said: “Formally receiving city status from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales will be a special moment for Southend-on-Sea, and we are hugely honoured to receive a Royal visit on what is sure to be a momentous day for our new city.”

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “This will be a landmark day for our new City and indeed our new city council, and one that will live long in the memory for all of us.”

New road signs will also be installed at the borough boundaries to highlight Southend’s new status.

Mick Ferris

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