Tower Hamlets to look into applying to become Royal borough

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is a Royal Palace and houses the Crown Jewels. - Credit: Mike Brooke

Tower Hamlets Council has agreed to investigate the possibility of getting a Royal stamp of approval.

It is looking into joining Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston and Greenwich and being designated a Royal borough.

Lib Dem councillor Rabina Khan made the proposal at the council meeting on March 4.

The legal status, which is made official with a Royal Charter signed by the Queen, does not provide any additional powers but shows an area has global significance as well as historic links to royalty.

Tower Hamlets councillors believe the area could be in with a chance because it is home to the Tower of London – an 11th century Royal Palace and fortress where many kings and queens have stayed.

Victoria Park, Canary Wharf, Brick Lane, Shoreditch and some of London’s most historic markets also reside in the borough.


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Mayor John Biggs said the council had explored applying for the status before but its chequered recent history had proved a stumbling block.

The former mayor Luftur Rahman was forced out of office and found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices by an Election Court in 2015.

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Mr Biggs said: “We did explore it before and think it would be a proud tribute to our exciting and buzzing borough. Not just because of the Tower but also the fact we are a gateway to the future.

“However the previous feedback we had was that we were not yet far enough from the chaos and trashed reputation of the previous administration. We will talk again through our contacts. I will look into it.”

Councillors have said the Platinum Jubilee next year could be a good time for Tower Hamlets to finally receive the title.

Cllr Khan said: “On business and economy and an outwardly looking borough, I’m calling for a cross-party working group make a bid for Tower Hamlets to become The Royal Borough of Tower Hamlets or City Status.

“We can consult the people of Tower Hamlets whether they want the council to bid for City Status or Royal Borough status.  It may be that we bid for both. We will not know if we do not try.”

Conservative Peter Golds added: “Now is a good time apply. The Tower of London is certainly one of the most important and recognisable Royal heritage sites in the capital, if not the world. It would be rather lovely if we were recognised as Royal.”

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