Southampton welcomes Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in historic day to mark Lord Mayor status

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, visited Southampton on 3 February 2023 in a historic visit to officially present the city with its Letters Patent, recognising Southampton’s new Lord Mayor status.

Marking a special moment in the city’s rich history, HRH met with the Lord Mayor, the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Southampton City Council’s Chief Executive, Council Leader and staff, civic dignitaries, and local business leaders.

Southampton was the only city in England and Wales to be awarded Lord Mayor status as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours Competition in 2022.

One of twelve cities to submit a bid, Southampton’s entry demonstrated the city’s proud and distinct identity, it’s welcoming and friendly character, and the commitment to its Mayoralty and the important role it plays in bringing people, and communities, together.

Bids were assessed by an expert panel, with Queen Elizabeth II herself making the final decision on the winner.

The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Jacqui Rayment, said: “It has been a truly special and memorable day, and a pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal to Southampton. Being awarded our Letters Patent in recognition of the city’s Lord Mayor status and being the first person to serve as Lord Mayor of our great city is an honour and a privilege. I’m proud to be part of a significant moment in Southampton’s history.”

The awarding of Lord Mayor status coincides with the city celebrating its 800th Mayoral year in 2022/ 2023.

As part of her visit to the Civic Offices, HRH also planted a tree in Andrews Park and unveiled a plaque in recognition of Southampton being awarded Champion City status for its support to the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022; inviting people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. Over 100 trees were planted in parks and open spaces across Southampton including Riverside Park, Townhill Green and West Park.

During her visit HRH met with other invited guests to learn about key local initiatives including Southampton’s aim to become a UNICEF Child friendly city, and the newly established Southampton Cultural Development Trust. She also talked to representatives of the Lord Mayor’s Charities (City Reach Youth Project, Southampton Street Pastors and Southampton’s hospitals Charity) as well as local historians, city ambassadors and members of the council’s Communities team.

Before her departure, HRH was presented with a posy of flowers by Southampton’s Childrens’s Mayor, Amaanah Hayat from St Deny’s Primary school. Amaanah is Southampton’s first Children’s Mayor – who was bestowed the honour at the council’s AGM in May 2022.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq said: “I am grateful to Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal for visiting Southampton today to present the Lord Mayor with the Letters Patent. I know that this is a great honour not only for the Lord Mayor, but also the people of Southampton. It was a pleasure to be a part of such a special and historic day.”