With the news that Wootton Basset will become the first town in 100 years to be granted the "royal" title, making it known officially as Royal Wootton Basset, it got me thinking what other places have done to deserve their royal titles.
There are only two other towns in England (although there are more elsewhere in the UK) with the "royal" title - Royal Leamington Spa (1838) and Royal Tunbridge Wells (1909). Both of these recieved their titles "in recognition of their history and royal patronage of their facilities", so basically they are old places that some royals liked the visit. That's it? Boor-ing!
So what about the Royal County of Berkshire? Why does it get to be royal? It was given the title simply because it is home to Windsor Castle. But there is a bit (a tiny bit, yes I'm stretching here in a desperate effort to make this a semi-interesting post) of drama surrounding this Royal County: Apparently, the county has been using the "royal" since before the 19th Century, long before it was actually recognized by the Queen in 1958. How dare you, Berkshire!
There are also a few royal boroughs in England, including what is now knowns as The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London (or RBKC to those in the know), which was granted the right to use the royal title by Queen Victoria who wanted to honour her birthplace. The newest addtion to the Royal Borough Club will be Greenwich in 2012 in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
And then there are all those random places with the suffix "Regis" after the town's orginal name. What's this about? Well, Regis is latin for King and this title is bestowed on towns frequented by royalty mainly as a holiday destination (how this is different from Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells is beyond me). I know I shouldn't judge(its so insulting!), but I'm beginning to question the Royal's choice in holiday spots. I've only ever been to Bognor Regis, and surely it was entirely different back when it was Regis-ized in 1929, but I really can't see why members of the royal family would have wanted to spend time there (royals don't go to Butlins, do they?)... surely Brighton Regis would have been a better choice?
On the off chance you're actually interested in this, here's a full list of towns/cities/counties/boroughs in the UK with royal patronage.