Their Majesties will Visit Colchester to Mark Its Recently Awarded City Status

King Charles III meeting well-wishers as he arrives for a visit to Hillsborough Castle, Co Down, September 13, 2022.
King Charles III meeting well-wishers as he arrives for a visit to Hillsborough Castle, Co Down, September 13, 2022.


Tuesday 7th March 2023

Engagement 1:

The King and Queen will visit Colchester Castle to mark Colchester’s recently awarded city status with community groups, volunteers, local businesses, conservation projects and arts organisations. During the visit, Their Majesties will unveil the name of Colchester Zoo’s newest addition, a baby white rhino.

Colchester officially became a city in November 2022, having been awarded the status during Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Their Majesties will be greeted on arrival by a Guard of Honour and the British Army Band Colchester. In the Castle Park, the King and Queen will meet those who took part in Colchester’s city status procession last year, including charities, volunteers and refugees who have settled in Colchester. Their Majesties will also hear from schoolchildren taking part in educational visits to the Castle Museum.

Inside the Castle, Their Majesties will be shown the artefact handling trolley by students from Market Field College, before joining a reception to celebrate Colchester’s city status.

The King and Queen will meet representatives from organisations including Essex Native Oyster Restoration Initiative; Firstsite, a contemporary art gallery which provides free hot meals to local low-income children and their families; and Next Chapter, a domestic abuse charity supporting survivors in the local area.

Outside the castle, before departing Their Majesties will meet the Animal Care Team from Colchester Zoo to hear about their conservation work. The King and Queen will then reveal the chosen name for the zoo’s newest addition, a baby white rhino.

Engagement 2:

Their Majesties The King and Queen will visit Colchester Library in Trinity Square to take afternoon tea with Age UK volunteers and service users, and learn about the library’s impact in the community through the Essex Year of Reading.

At Colchester Library, the King and Queen will join Age UK for an afternoon tea with local volunteers, service users and The Silver Line staff to hear about the support provided by the charity across the region, and its positive impact on older people.

As Prince of Wales, His Majesty become Patron of Age UK in 2010, which provides information, support, friendship and advice for older people in need. As Duchess of Cornwall, Her Majesty became Patron of The Silver Line in 2017. The free and confidential helpline is available day and night for any older person to call if they need information, reassurance or comfort.

At the end of afternoon tea, Their Majesties will cut a special cake to mark the occasion.

Whilst at the library, the Queen will also join a gathering of local authors, children, supporters and volunteers in the ‘Literacy Corner’ to celebrate the Essex Year of Reading. The countywide campaign was established to help children and young people discover a lifelong love of reading, and help to ensure every Essex child is able to read at their age level or above. Her Majesty will be welcomed to the Literary Corner by characters Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter, played by actors from the local Mercury Theatre.

The Queen will be joined in the literary corner by broadcaster and children’s author Dermot O’Leary, who is local to Colchester and a keen supporter of the Essex Year of Reading, as well as local author Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Her Majesty will be presented with a special Colchester Library card before departing.

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