Charlotteans take great pride in the Queen City moniker. The city’s flag and many of the street signs feature an image of a crown, and there is a statue of the queen at CLT airport. Local sports teams and clothing brands also pay homage to the city’s nickname. But you might wonder why Charlotte is called the Queen City.
The answer is unsurprising, but that’s just the beginning of the story.
Why Is Charlotte Called The Queen City?
Charlotte, North Carolina, is nicknamed the Queen City in honor of the queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The city was founded when her husband, King George III, sat on the throne in England.
Locals will quickly recognize that Mecklenburg County is also named after Queen Charlotte. The city of Charlotte is one of the 15 largest cities in the country and the largest in North or South Carolina.
Charlotte, NC, Is Named After Queen Charlotte
Interestingly, Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was queen during a very interesting historical period. She married King George III on September 8, 1761, when she became the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.
The two kingdoms combined on January 1, 1801, under the reign of King George, at which time Charlotte became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Here are three interesting facts about Queen Charlotte:
- King George and Queen Charlotte had 15 children.
- King George and Queen Charlotte were the first royal family to live in Buckingham Palace, which is known as ‘The Queen’s House’ because Charlotte loved it.
- Queen Charlotte founded multiple orphanages.
Queen City Imagery Throughout Charlotte
Residents of the city of Charlotte take great pride in being known as The Queen City. For Example, a statue of Queen Charlotte has moved around to different areas of prominence at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT).
The statue was outside for years, but it was moved back inside to a prominent location in the atrium of the expanded terminal, near arrivals to the airport.
And it’s not just that the city flag and street signs have a crown on them. The stylized crown is trademarked, and so popular local clothing companies have negotiated licensing fees for the privilege to use the crown on their clothing.
Other Queen Cities
Charlotte, North Carolina, is not the only city name after Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg, and it’s not the only city known as The Queen City. For instance, Charlottesville, Virginia, was named after the same queen.
Still, Cincinnati might be Charlotte’s biggest rival for The Queen City moniker. But since we live in Charlotte, we still like to think that Queen Charlotte, North Carolina, reigns supreme.
Charlotte vs. Cincinnati
Charlotte and Cincinnati are the two largest cities in the United States that claim the Queen City nickname. Naturally, there has been a low-key rivalry regarding which city is the most royal.
This escalated even further because of soccer. Football Club Cincinnati joined the MLS in March 2019. Later that year, the MLS announced that Charlotte FC would also join the league as an expansion franchise.
The Queen City imagery is a point of emphasis for Charlotte FC. In fact, the club crest prominently features a crown.
The two teams played for the first time on March 26, 2022, and Charlotte FC won 2-0.
Why Is Cincinnati Called The Queen City
Cincinnati is not nicknamed after an actual queen, like the city of Charlotte down south. Instead, Cincinnati’s royal moniker caught trend following an 1819 article in the Inquisitor and Cincinnati Advertiser, in which Cincinnati was referred to as the “Queen of the West.”
Cincinnati was a burgeoning city in the early 1800s, and Cincinnati embodied the western movement of the country.
More US Cities Called The Queen City
Of course, Charlotte and Cincinnati aren’t the only US cities referred to as The Queen City. Across the country, cities ranging from Buffalo, New York to Meridian, Mississippi, have donned the same nickname. Seattle and Denver, too.
Toronto and Victoria, British Columbia, have been called the same north of the border. In fact, Victoria is named after Queen Victoria.
Other Nicknames For Charlotte, NC
Like any vibrant city, Charlotte has quite a few nicknames. Some are original, while others are not. Multiple nicknames harken to the sports world. In addition to the two more prominent nicknames below, you might also hear Mint City or Buzz City.
Still, The Queen City is the most beloved nickname. If you’ve never been to Charlotte, the city is definitely worth visiting. The culture is eclectic, and Southern hospitality is evident.
City of Trees
Charlotte is covered by a beautiful canopy of trees. There are highways that you drive down that make you think that you are in the middle of nowhere because the surroundings are so shielded from the road.
This isn’t completely unique to Charlotte. Raleigh is another fairly big city that is just up the road, and it is called the City of Oaks. People compare Charlotte vs. Raleigh all day long, but we will let you decide whether the City of Trees or the City of Oaks has the better tree canopy.
The NBA team is named the Charlotte Hornets, which is a cool name, but much more than just that. While this is now disputed, some historians proclaim that the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was published in 1775.
This would make it the first declaration of independence from the Thirteen Colonies and predated the United States Declaration of Independence by more than a year. Regardless, Charlotteeans were fiercely against the British Crown.
When General Cornwallis led the British army into Charlotte in 1780, local legend says that he called the city a “Hornet’s Nest of Rebellion.” The British army didn’t stay long before leaving.
Today, the Charlotte Hornets pay homage to the legend. Somewhat ironically, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department has a logo featuring a hornet’s nest.
Charlotte, NC – The Queen City
Charlotte is a bustling city with a proud history. It’s somewhat funny that the two most prominent images in the city contradict one another. The crown and the hornet’s nest are both prominent representations throughout Charlotte.
While the crown pays homage to Queen Charlotte, the hornet’s nest proudly represents rebellion against the oppression of the British crown. And yet, the city loves both images. So, one might ask again: Why is Charlotte called the Queen City?
The nickname comes from the fact that the city is named after queen consort Charlotte. Still, my inclination is that modern-day Charlotteans are drawn to the name because of the pride they feel for what the city has grown into today. Some might even say that Charlotte is the Queen of the South.