18 Oct 2011

Town renamed ''Royal''

8:19 am on 18 October 2011

Wootton Bassett, a small town in Wiltshire, has been officially renamed with the prefix "Royal".

Thousands of people gathered for a ceremony on Sunday, when the Princess Royal presented the Letters Patent on behalf of the Queen.

The move recognises the role the town played during the repatriation of British military personnel killed in war.

The event was attended by Prime Mininster David Cameron and new Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

It is the first time since 1909 that a town has been granted a royal title.

At the start of the ceremony, former mayor Steve Bucknell led a minute's silence to remember service personnel who have been killed.

The BBC reports Wootton Bassett gained fame as its residents stood quietly showing respect for fallen servicemen whose bodies were driven through the town.

The decision to rename it Royal Wootton Bassett was taken by the Queen following a petition from the prime minister.

Princess Anne paid tribute to the residents and said the community had come together in a most extraordinary way.