Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph have been awarded city status to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it has been announced.
Armagh in Northern Ireland has been granted a lord mayoralty.
The awards have been made by the Queen on the advice of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, following a competition to bid for civic honours launched in December 2010.
Mr Clegg said the decision to award a new city in England, Scotland and Wales, and a lord mayoralty in Northern Ireland, reflected the significance of every part of the United Kingdom in Diamond Jubilee year.
"Across the United Kingdom, I have been moved by the pride and passion which people have shown in putting their nominations forward," he said.
"The standard of application was very high, and those who missed out should not be downhearted.
"I hope the competition has given the residents of all of the places which applied a sense of civic pride, of collective ownership and of community spirit."
Civic leaders in Medway in Kent were magnanimous in defeat.
Medway Council leader Rodney Chambers said their losing bid showed the area has come a long way since the 1980s.
"I would like to congratulate the three towns that have today gained city status," he said. "While we were, of course, hoping Medway would gain city status, we believe the bid created a huge amount of national publicity and this has helped raise our profile and show people how much this area has to offer."