‘Party with penguins’: Joy as Falkland town wins coveted city status to mark Queen’s Jubilee | Queen’s Platinum Jubilee


With an official population of just 2,458, Stanley became one of the world’s smallest towns last week after gaining status to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

But its celebrations promise to be anything but micro, according to residents of the Falkland Islands capital.

The islands’ government said it would “party with the penguins” after the news, tweeting that the South Atlantic archipelago was “thrilled”.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Roberts, a seventh-generation Falkland Islander and deputy editor of the Stanley-based newspaper penguin newssay it Observer that the atmosphere in the new city was dynamic. “There’s a lot of excitement about it,” he said, adding that some took Friday afternoon off to prepare for the celebrations.

It would no doubt lift the mood at the annual ball scheduled for May, he said, which he described as “a mix between a ball and a cèilidh”, and all the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. “Everyone is in a good mood. So I’m sure it will carry over to the nightlife and celebrations going on in Stanley right now.

Christ Church Cathedral and the Whalebone Arch in Stanley, Falkland Islands. Photography: John Turner Photography/Alamy

However, he said it was “an unfortunate moment” that the embargo on the landmark announcement meant they were unable to include it in Friday’s newspaper. But he said the weekly, the only newspaper produced in the Falkland Islands, would just wait to cover it next week.

Born and raised in Stanley, only leaving to attend college and university in the UK before returning to work as a journalist, he said life in Stanley is “brilliant” and the new town is ” booming” right now with new businesses and a growing population. Meanwhile, dolphins are playing in the harbor and there is a colony of penguins nearby. “Too often people only think of the Falklands in 1982. But in the 40 years since, Stanley has grown.”

Traighana Smith, editor of Falklands Radio, said everyone was “absolutely delighted”. But with the 40th anniversary commemorations of the Falklands War underway, she predicted most people would delay their celebrations until the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Smith, who moved to Stanley six years ago from Scotland, said: “It’s going to be a little weird calling it the town of Stanley. I don’t know how long it will take to take off.

In many ways, she said, Stanley was an “average small town.” But with wildlife including sea lions, albatrosses, penguins, dolphins and penguins, it certainly has some unique attributes. “There aren’t many cities where you would be able to escape into the countryside in the 30 seconds I think it takes to drive to the city limits,” she said.

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