Pay a visit to the UK’s newest city next year, and you may have to travel 8,000 miles.
Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands and with a population of just 2,524, according to the last census, is bidding for city status.
It is one of 39 towns competing for the honour as part of celebrations for the Queen’s 2022 Platinum Jubilee.
For the first time, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are eligible. Stanley is joined by Gibraltar, and George Town in the Cayman Islands.
The Queen will approve the eventual winner, on the advice of recommendations to ministers by an expert panel.
Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, said that becoming a city would fit with the Government’s “levelling up” agenda.
Stanley is one of the smallest places among those bidding for city status
Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Applicants were asked to submit bids demonstrating the “distinct identity and community” which would merit city status, as well as the royal associations of the area.
Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. British troops moved into Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, on June 15 1982, where the Argentine forces surrendered after a 74-day occupation.
There have been several Royal visits to Stanley including by the Duke of Cambridge, who was deployed to the Falklands with the RAF in 2012, and the Duke of Edinburgh, who first visited in 1957 aboard the Royal yacht Britannia.
The Hon Leona Roberts, who represents Stanley on the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, said the 40th anniversary of the conflict and the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee made 2022 a fitting year to apply for city status.
‘Something we really wanted to be a part of’
“We have always had very strong links with the Royal family, whose visits are always well-received,” Ms Roberts said.
“This is something we really wanted to be a part of. It would be a huge privilege to gain city status, although we know there is a lot of competition and we are managing expectations.
“Our population is about 2,500, so in terms of cities we would be one of the smallest. But everyone here is absolutely behind the bid. We are very proud of our country and of Stanley.”
The 2022 contenders for city status
The competition is being run by the Cabinet Office. Steve Barclay, Cabinet Office minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “Today’s announcement is a celebration of the rich and diverse communities which make up not only the United Kingdom, but also our friends further afield in the Falklands, Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands.
“It’s fitting that, as we look towards celebrating the 70-year reign of Her Majesty the Queen, we extend the competition to include those parts of the world which also hold her so dearly.
“City status is not only about local pride. It can deliver real levelling up benefits for businesses and the local area which is clear from the high number of applications. A sincere best of luck to all those who have applied.”
Ms Dorries said: “Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is an exciting chance for local areas to become cities and level up opportunities for all. As well as fostering local pride and potential, this competition is a great way to mark Her Majesty’s 70 year reign.”
Final decision in spring
It is traditional for towns to bid for city status on the occasion of the Queen’s Jubilee.
For the Golden Jubilee in 2002, the honour went to Preston, Newport, Stirling, Lisburn and Newry.
In 2012, for the Diamond Jubilee, the new cities were Chelmsford, St Asaph and Perth.
The final decision on the 2022 cities will be taken in spring and announced shortly afterwards, as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Earlier this year, the Queen granted city status to Southend-on-Sea following the death of MP Sir David Amess, who had championed the cause during his time in Parliament.