Lantern parade celebrates village's new royal status

Letters Patent from the Queen was delivered last week, which officially changed the name of the village to Royal Hillsborough.

Children took part in a lantern parade through Royal Hillsborough as the village celebrated its new status.

It is the first area of Northern Ireland to be granted a royal title.

Letters Patent from the Queen was delivered last week officially changing the name to Royal Hillsborough.

New signage marking the change in name has been erected in Royal Hillsborough (Jonathan McCambridge/PA)

The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Stephen Martin, led the parade which also included street entertainers, illuminated inflatables and fireworks over the lake on Saturday night.

Mr Martin said: “This is a wonderful example of community spirit here in Royal Hillsborough.

“Local schools and community groups have been working hard over the last few weeks to make their beautiful, colourful lanterns and I was delighted to see them light up the village as part of our parade.

“I have been overwhelmed by the support we have had from the community who have been working closely with the council to plan and deliver a varied programme of events to celebrate Royal Hillsborough.

Fireworks over the lake in Royal Hillsborough (Pacemaker Press/PA)

“The parade, the street entertainment and the fireworks made for a wonderful community event. Most of all, it’s the people here  that make all the difference.

“The village was filled with laughter and smiles with the church bells of St Malachy’s ringing in the background.”

Local residents, Ken and Dawn McEntee are the owners of The Laundry Room Dry Cleaners in Royal Hillsborough.

Mr McEntee said: “Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council has been working closely with us and other business and community groups and schools to plan the celebrations so as local residents, we feel really part of this truly historic event.

Children gather for the lantern parade in Royal Hillsborough (Pacemaker Press/PA)

“The lantern parade and the fireworks have been really special. I hope that the new royal title for our village will help bring people from far and wide. I can guarantee a warm welcome for everyone.”

The Queen had been due to visit the village last week but had to cancel her trip to Northern Ireland on health grounds.

Despite this, an official ceremony went ahead at her official residence in Northern Ireland, Hillsborough Castle, where the Letters Patent was unveiled

New signage in the village has been erected to mark the change in name.

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