King Charles to formally mark city status - but what does being a city actually mean for Milton Keynes?

    Today, King Charles is set to make his visit to Milton Keynes to formally mark city status - but what does city status mean?

    The successful bid came in May 2022 for Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, after three previous applications over the last 22 years. In 2000, an application was submitted for the millennium - then again in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee, and 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee.

    38 towns in total applied for the civic honour, in which Milton Keynes sent its bid back in December 2021, in typical MK fashion- by Starship robot.

    Now, today, His Majesty The King is visiting Milton Keynes to formally mark city status, but what does city status actually mean?

    With 8 places receiving city status as part of the Platinum Jubilee last year, it has taken the total number of UK cities to 78 - meaning that Milton Keynes is one of a small number of actual, recognised cities.

    The idea that a city needs to have a cathedral is a really common misconception, there are actually many cities without one! Birmingham was the first town without a cathedral to become a city, in 1889.

    The only requirement to become a city is that its status is granted by the monarch.

    The main thing that comes with being a city, is a sense of pride and validation. As the MK Council Leader said: "I think this is a validation for the city and for all those children and adults who were born here and brought up here and everybody that knows what a great place it is and how we can now say we are from the city of Milton Keynes."

    It is also a huge boost for tourism, and as a result, the economy. 

    Research shows that Perth, which was granted city status in 2012 as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, has reaped the full benefits, with the local economy expanding by 12% in the decade it was granted city status.

    Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "City Status is a huge accolade and I congratulate our eight brilliant winners. This competition showcases the best of Britain and the Overseas Territories and will act as a lasting legacy of Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee." 

    The King is set to visit Milton Keynes today (16 February), during the afternoon reception, His Majesty the King will meet a range of community groups representing charitable, business, faith, environmental and arts organisations in Milton Keynes.

    A dedicated space will be made available outside the Church for local people to await the arrival of His Majesty. The car park between the front of the Church and Saxon Gate will be closed from 10pm on 15 February to enable a safe barriered area to be created. The car park will reopen after the reception on 16 February.

    Unfortunately, it was announced earlier this week that The Queen Consort had tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of her planned visit to Milton Keynes.

    "After suffering the symptoms of a cold, Her Majesty The Queen Consort has tested positive for the COVID virus," a statement from Buckingham Palace reads.

    "With regret, she has therefore cancelled all her public engagements for this week and sends her sincere apologies to those who had been due to attend them."

    You can find more details about the King's visit here - King Charles to visit Milton Keynes

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