First joint Citizenship Ceremony
At 11.00am on Tuesday 22 July, for the first time 40 new citizens representing four London boroughs - Tower Hamlets, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Richmond - will be coming together for the nation’s first ever joint Citizenship Ceremony. It will take place under the magnificent Rubens ceiling at the Banqueting House Whitehall. This joint ceremony will be unique because Citizenship Ceremonies are usually held by individual boroughs or councils for their own new citizens.
As part of its rolling programme of community projects, independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, which cares for the Banqueting House Whitehall along with the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kew Palace and Kensington Palace, has brought these four London boroughs together as the localities in which its five palaces are located.
To encourage the new citizens to explore the story of the nation they have just joined, each new citizen will be given a complimentary annual membership to Historic Royal Palaces so that they can enjoy a year’s unlimited free access to five of the greatest palaces ever built.
This latest ambitious event builds upon the successful Citizenship Ceremonies that were held at the Tower of London and Kensington Palace earlier in 2008 and also marks the 10th anniversary of Historic Royal Palaces becoming an independent charity.
The ceremony includes welcome speeches, an oath of allegiance to the Queen and the presentation of certificates. New citizens are also required to make a formal and public pledge to observe the laws of the United Kingdom.
The Banqueting House is an apt venue for such a unique event today, being the location of many great ceremonies in its long history; it was the location for the beheading of Charles I in 1649; the Undercroft, partly decorated as a shell grotto, was used as a ‘drinking den’ for James I; Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, made the palace his official residence until his death in 1658; Britain’s only joint monarchs, William of Orange and Mary II were offered and accepted the Crown of England at the Banqueting House; when Mary II died she was laid out in state on a catafalque designed by Sir Christopher Wren; and it acted as a Chapel Royal for 50 years during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Notes to editors
For further information contact Natasha Woollard in the Press Office at Historic Royal Palaces Tel: 020 3166 6303 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Generic Historic Royal Palaces images can also be viewed and downloaded immediately and for free by registering on the website hrp.newsteam.co.uk
The palaces are open everyday, except 24th – 26th December
Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.
We receive no funding from the Government or the Crown, so we depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors.
These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
We believe in four principles. Guardianship: giving these palaces a future as long and valuable as their past. Discovery: encouraging people to make links with their own lives and today’s world. Showmanship: doing everything with panache. Independence: having our own point of view and finding new ways to do our work.
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