St Davids City Status
The then Mayor of St Davids Cllr Jim Richards receiving the Letters Patent on behalf of the community during the presentation ceremony in which he was supported by the then Clerk to the Council Jane Jenkins.
The Queen is accompanied on the dais by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Lord Lieutenant David Mansel Lewis.
St Davids has officially been a city since 1995 when, at a memorable service and ceremony at the Cathedral, Her Majesty the Queen presented the then Town Council with Letters Patent elevating the council to the status of a full City Council. Her Majesty, who was accompanied by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh travelled to West Wales in the Royal Yacht Britannia, coming ashore in the Royal Barge at Solva and travelling on to St Davids by road. The Letters Patent which she presented are now permanently on display at the Cathedral Treasury
The presentation brought a definitive end to a long running conundrum as to whether St Davids was or was not a city despite having a cathedral, the conventional criteria for defining a city. The problem had been that, despite the medieval traditions that St Davids was a city, and links with the monarchy in that uniquely the Queen was a member of the Cathedral Chapter, the charters that would have confirmed this had all been lost or destroyed.
The opportunity to put this right arose in 1991 on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Queen’s succession to the Throne when a large number of communities throughout Britain were seeking the grant of City Status to mark the event. Encouraged by the then Secretary of State for Wales and our county MP, St Davids also decided to apply, at first unsuccessfully, but finally receiving notification of the honour in July 1994 when Prince Charles on a visit to Northern Ireland announced that the Queen was graciously minded to grant city status to Armagh and St Davids, in view of the venerable Christian traditions of both communities.
The Queen, who, notwithstanding the disestablishment of the Church in Wales, had as Sovereign been a Canon of the Cathedral since her succession, and who had made two previous visits to the Cathedral to occupy her stall in the Quire, finally returned to St Davids on 1st June 1995 to make the official presentation. On her arrival in St Davids she was welcomed by the then Mayor Cllr Jim Richards and members of the Council to whom she subsequently presented the Letters Patent at a special service of Choral Mattins at the Cathedral.
*The grant of City Status conferred no special powers on this council, which are the same as those for any other town or community council in Wales, but it has restored to our city the dignity, standing and position to which it has traditionally always aspired.