READING is a town which is often mistaken for a city.

However, her Majesty The Queen has agreed for a competition to be held to grant the prestigious and rare civic honours of ‘city status’ and ‘Lord Mayor or Lord Provost status’, to a select number of worthy towns and cities in the UK.

This will be the first time in 10 years that Her Majesty awards civic honours and the occasion comes as part of celebrations to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

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But why is Reading NOT currently a city?

Here's what makes a place a city...

According to the UK Parliament website: "City status in the UK can be associated with having a cathedral or a university, a particular form of local government, or having a large population."

It added: "Although any of these might be used to justify the popular use of the term ‘city’, in formal terms UK city status is granted by the monarch, on the advice of ministers."

Apparently, local government structures, despite their names, do not have a direct connection to whether somewhere has the status of a city, says the website.

It explained: "A city will normally style its local authority as a ‘city council’, but this is not a category of local authority in its own right. In law, a city council could be a unitary authority (e.g. Manchester), a district council (e.g. Cambridge), or a parish council (e.g. Truro)."

Cathedrals tend to be what people associate cities with.

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UK Parliament's website revealed historically cities were settlements with a cathedral, and those places remain cities.

This is why some cities are now quite small such as Salisbury.

However a cathedral is not a requirement for city status to be conferred.

How to become a city

As part of this government’s commitment to levelling up and increasing opportunity across the United Kingdom, local authorities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can enter the competition and make a case for why its area deserves to be granted one of these honours.

For the first time, the city status competition will also be open to applications from the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.