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Citizenship Ceremony at the Old Royal Naval College


Fri 10 Dec 21

Once a year the Old Royal Naval College hosts Royal Borough of Greenwich’s citizenship ceremony where residents of the borough become British citizens. Those attending this ceremony are on the final step of the journey to becoming citizens by swearing or affirming an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen.

On 25 November 2021, 61 new citizens received their citizenship in an inspirational ceremony in The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul at the Old Royal Naval College, officiated by the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Mayor and Deputy Superintendent Registrar. Many participants invited friends and family, and a simple reception followed the ceremony.

Such an event is a time for celebration and provides an opportunity to officially welcome new citizens as full members of their local community. All participants are welcomed to this historic setting by the Chief Executive of the Old Royal Naval College, Matthew Mees, and learn about the history and significance of the site including its past as the Royal Hospital for Seaman, the Royal Naval College and how it has welcomed people from around the world for 500 years.

Community events such as this at the Old Royal Naval College inspire and engage the public in heritage and creativity. The ceremony is followed by an optional free guided tour of the magnificent Baroque interiors of the Painted Hall and the ‘500 years of History’ tour, as well as giving every new citizen an annual pass allowing unlimited entry for the whole year. These visitors often express delight upon discovering this local attraction, to which they are keen to invite others, including their own visitors from abroad.

Matthew Mees said; “This event is very special to me. It is a pleasure to host a citizenship ceremony and welcome people to the Old Royal Naval College and to the Royal Borough on this really important day in their lives.”

“The Chapel is a magnificent building and such a landmark site to hold this ceremony. There is a part of the proceedings when the officiant makes the point that the assembled group are the world’s newest British Citizens and receiving citizenship is a culmination of a lot of time and effort on all their parts.”

“It is even more momentous for everyone to gather together in person for this occasion, given the restrictions and challenges of the past year. The Old Royal Naval College is a fitting venue for the citizenship ceremony because the entire history of this place has been shaped by people coming from different places including people who have lived, worked, and studied at these buildings. I look forward to the next one we hold.”