Newmarket wants royal status

Councillors in Newmarket are to bid for the town to be given royal status, and if successful would be the fourth UK place to have the prestigious prefix.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth

Councillors in Newmarket are to bid for the town to be given royal status.

Officials in the Suffolk town - which is famed for being the "home of horse racing" - voted unanimously on Monday (26.01.15) to apply for patronage, giving it the official title of Royal Newmarket.

Warwick Hirst, council portfolio holder for leisure, believes the town's 400-year-old association with horse racing and the royal family should give them a strong case.

He added: "The town has strong royal connections."

However, the council official admitted it may not be easy to gain the recognition as in 2011, Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire became the first town in over 100 years to gain the prefix, joining Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells.

He said: "We're optimistic, but there are only three others so perhaps it's very difficult."

An application later and 80-page book detailing the town's royal connections have been sent to the Cabinet Office but it is the reigning monarch who decides to bestow the honour.

Racing - the queen's favourite sport - dominates the town, where horses have the right of way on road crossings.

King James I first recognised land in the town as being ideal for horses in 1605 and from 1660, Charles II was a regular visitor and rode on two of the courses that are still used.

Queen Elizabeth often attends race meetings in Newmarket.

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