Milton Keynes is a city and has received its status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
It was one of 38 places across the UK and British Overseas Territories to apply, having failed in three previous applications in 2000, 2002 and 2012.
Milton Keynes is one of three English towns to receive city status, joined by Colchester and Doncaster. Dunfermiline in Scotland, Wrexham in north Wales and Bangor in Northern Ireland.
Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, and Douglas in the Isle of Man complete the list.
Applicants had to show their cultural heritage and royal links. The Platinum Jubilee civic honours competition also required places to show how their local identity and communities meant they deserved to be granted city status.
The new cities can expect a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for people who live there, the Cabinet Office said.
Milton Keynes Council led the bid for city status, submitted last year.
Council leader Cllr Pete Marland said: “People have always said that it looks like a city, feels like a city and now we can say, it is a city.”
The award confirms the importance of Milton Keynes to the regional and national economy, he added. “City status will make people even prouder to call Milton Keynes their home and gives us the platform to make our great city even greater.”
MPs Ben Everitt and Iain Stewart have both backed the bid, led by Milton Keynes Council, from the outset. Having both written to Steve Barclay MP, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to highlight the reasons why Milton Keynes deserved city status, the Milton Keynes MPs have continued to lobby their ministerial colleagues in Parliament for the case of MK being recognised as a city.
Mr Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “I am over the moon that Her Majesty The Queen has chosen the city to be recognised as a city in the year of her Platinum Jubilee.
“While I note I may be biased, I truly believe that Milton Keynes is one of the best cities in the world. Where else are you going to find the history of the WW2 codebreakers at Bletchley Park mixed with the future of driverless cars and delivery robots?”
Delighted: Milton Keynes MPs Iain Stewart left and Ben Everitt
Winning city status can provide a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for residents, as is the case with previous winners Perth and Preston where the local economies benefited from their improved national and global standing.
Mr Everitt, who represents the North, said: “We have all been calling it a city for years so I am absolutely thrilled Milton Keynes has been successful in its bid and will now officially become a city.
“We may be just 55 years old but we have got so much history with Bletchley Park and Wolverton Works and, looking forward, we can become the Silicon Valley of Europe with our innovation and technology with the success of the delivery robots, autonomous car trials and space research.”
Milton Keynes has so much to offer to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. Mr Stewart said: “It is an absolute honour and privilege to represent the city in Parliament and I am thrilled to have played my part in securing Milton Keynes city status.”
Mr Everitt added: “We have got incredible education institutions in Milton Keynes College, the Open University and the Institute of Technology and, as we have seen through the pandemic and now into the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, we have a truly fantastic community spirit.
“I am proud to be Member of Parliament for the CITY of Milton Keynes.”