The UK Citizenship Ceremonies have returned. This quintessentially British event was the perfect introduction to the participants’ new nationality. This particular ceremony took place in the Chelsea Old Town Hall under vaulted gold ceilings, adorned with chandeliers. The Union Jack and a portrait of her majesty, the Queen, added to the pride felt by all seven participants who were awarded their new citizenship. Pre-Covid, there would normally be 25 candidates, each allowed a maximum of six guests. To ensure that no element of the experience was removed from their special day, the Borough chose to hold the ceremony as a socially-distanced event with each candidate bringing one guest. Orileke Mabo, the Council Registrar on duty, liaised with the photographers and administrators to ensure the event ran smoothly. He created a slideshow with all the information of how to apply for a passport and commit to the electoral registration to complete the process of their citizenship application.
Having all sworn an oath to loyalty, Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Cllr Sof McVeigh, entered to patriotic trumpets echoing through the Hall. She spoke of the “great privilege” it was to be British and part of one in only four of the Royal Boroughs. To accentuate this sense of belonging, she likened citizenship to a marriage, forming a bond with their nationality. The participants can bring a signed document to life by adopting British culture and traditions; by becoming one with their country. Following the speech, participants swore to bear allegiance to the Queen by Almighty God and were handed their certificates. The ceremony was resolved with the Archers theme as the ‘cherry on top’ of the British-themed event. Cllr Gerard Hargreaves, RBKC Mayor, also leads the services and spoke at a ceremony that took place yesterday.
Having passed the naturalisation test with questions to gauge the commitment of the applicant to their new nationality, the ceremony was a splendid reward. Time to whip up a cream tea.