On a recent trip to the United Kingdom, The City of London Corporation and Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley bestowed upon Gov. Phil Bryant the Freedom of the City of London.

Freedom of the City is one of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence, and is believed to have been first presented in 1237. Gov. Bryant is the second Mississippian to be admitted as a “freeman,” joining Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman, who received the title in 2014.
Past recipients include Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower and Margaret Thatcher.


“My deepest gratitude goes to the City of London Corporation, its chairman Mark Boleat and Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “This is something I will always cherish. To follow in the footsteps of a fellow Mississippian and some of my personal heroes makes it very special. Mississippi and the U.K. have a special bond, whose cultural and economic roots bind us together as friends.”

Gov. Bryant’s Freedom of the City was one part of a cultural and trade mission, to build upon the established partnerships between Mississippi and the UK. As the Birthplace of America’s Music, Mississippi offers European visitors a unique and authentic experience. Visitors from the UK come for Mississippi’s picturesque and varied landscapes -- the Delta flatlands, rolling hills and beaches, charming small towns, casino resorts, important historical markers and battlefields that tell the story of America.

Mississippi has military and economic partnerships with England, too. Observers from the UK attended Southern Strike military exercises conducted on the Gulf Coast last year, brushing up on the latest techniques for aerial evacuations.

Since 2012, state-assisted projects with UK companies have led to more than $211 million in private investment and the creation of almost 500 jobs. As an example, Rolls Royce tests rocket engines on our Gulf Coast that will one day send astronauts to Mars. Drax Biomass takes raw materials from the woodbasket of America and turns them into high-quality wood pellets that serve as a renewable, low-carbon fuel.

The state has worked in partnership with British Petroleum to restore the beautiful Gulf Coast, after the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon incident in April 2010. While environmental and economic rebuilding continues, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been returned to its naturally pristine condition.

“I am committed to strengthening and growing those partnerships,” Gov. Bryant said.