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Registration Information

 

British cars can be traced to the county they were initially registered in by their number plates. This only applies to older cars where the plate is not an age-related one, or a personalised one.

 

SINGLE LETTER Registrations, by area. First issued from 1903, but some were reused as offices ran out of numbers in the late 1950’s & early 60’s i.e ‘A166′.

 

A London J Durham S Edinburgh
B Lancashire K Liverpool T Devonshire
C Yorkshire, West Riding L Glamorgan U Leeds
D Kent M Cheshire V Lanarkshire
E Staffordshire N Manchester W Sheffield
F Essex O Birmingham X Northumberland
G Glasgow P Surrey Y Somerset
H Middlesex Q Not issued Z Dublin
I Not Issued R Derbyshire

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DOUBLE LETTER Registration by area. Note that some letters were re-allocated in both 1974 and 1981, as busy Registration Offices ran out of the original letters. Issuing in the old area then ceased as the new Office began using them, and in some cases letters have been in three different areas countrywide! This lack of space is shown as ’74 or ’81. Most were issued to their areas originally in 1903, under the “Motor Car Act 1903” i.e. ‘A166′, ‘AB166′, and later ‘BAB166′, and after 1963 ‘B166BAB.

 

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A_

AA Hampshire, Salisbury, Bournemouth AN West Ham, GLC; & Reading from’74
AB Worcestershire AO Cumberland, Carlisle
AC Warwickshire AP East Sussex, Brighton
AD Gloucestershire AQ Not Issued
AE Bristol AR Hertfordshire CC; & Chelmsford from ’74
AF Cornwall AS Nairn; & Inverness from’74
AG Ayrshire; & Hull from ’74 AT Kingston on Hull
AH Norfolk AU Nottingham
AI Not Issued AV Aberdeen; & Peterborough from’74
AJ Yorkshire North Riding & Middlesborough ’74 AW Shropshire
AK Bradford; & Sheffield from’74 AX Monmouth, Cardiff
AL Nottingham AY Leicester
AM Wiltshire, Swindon AZ Not Issued
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B_

BA Salford, Manchester BN Bolton, Manchester
BB Newcastle on Tyne BO Cardiff
BC Leicester BP West Sussex, & Portsmouth from’74
BD Northampton BQ Not Issued
BE Lincolnshire, Grimsby BR Sunderland, Durham; & Newcastle’74
BF Stoke on Trent BS Orkney, Kirkwall from ’74, Inverness from ’81
BG Birkenhead, Liverpool BT York; & Leeds from ’81,
BH Bucks CC; & Luton from ’74 BU Oldham, Manchester
BI Not Issued BV Blackburn, Preston
BJ East Suffolk, Ipswich BW Oxford
BK Portsmouth BX Carmarthenshire
BL Berkshire, Reading BY Croydon, GLC from ’65, London from ’74
BM Bedfordshire; & Luton from ’74 BZ Not Issued
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C_

CA Denbigh; & Cheshire from ’74 CN Gateshead, Newcastle on Tyne
CB Blackburn, Bolton from ’74,Manchester from ’81 CO Plymouth; & Exeter from ’81
CC Caernarvon; & Bangor from ’74 CP Halifax; & Huddersfield from ’74
CD Brighton CQ Not Issued
CE Cambridge; & Peterborough from ’81 CR Southampton; & Portsmouth from ’74
CF West Suffolk; & Reading from ’74 CS Ayrshire; & Glasgow from ’81
CG Hants CC; Salisbury from ’74;& Bournemouth from ’81 CT Boston, Lincoln
CH Derby; & Nottingham from ’74 CU South Shields;& Newcastle from ’74
CI Not Issued CV Cornwall, Truro
CJ Hereford, & Gloucester from ’74 CW Burnley; & Preston from ’74
CK Preston CX Huddersfield
CL Norwich CY Swansea
CM Birkenhead; & Liverpool from ’74 CZ Not Issued
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D_

DA Wolverhampton; & Birmingham from ’74 DN York; & Leeds from ’81
DB Stockport; & Manchester from ’74 DO Holland; & Boston’74;&Lincoln’81
DC Middlesborough; Teeside from’74; Middlesborough from’81 DP Reading
DD Gloucester DQ Not Issued
DE Pembroke; & Haverfordwest from ’74 DR Plymouth; & Exeter from ’81
DF Gloucester DS Peebles; & Glasgow from ’74
DG Gloucester DT Doncaster; &Sheffield from ’74,
DH Walsall; & Dudley from ’74 DU Coventry
DI Not Issued DV Devon C.C.; & Exeter from ’74
DJ St.Helens; Warrington from ’74;Liverpool from ’81 DW Newport Monmouthshire, and Cardiff from’74
DK Rochdale; Bolton from ’74; Manchester from ’81 DX Ipswich
DL Isle of Wight; Newport Isle of Wight from ’74; Portsmouth from’81, DY Hastings; & Brighton from ’81
DM Flint C.C.; & Chester from ’74. DZ Not Issued
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E_

EA West Bromwich, & Dudley from ’74 EN Bury, Bolton ’74, Manchester ’81
EB Isle of Ely, Cambridge from ’65, Peterborough from ’81 EO Barrow in Furness, & Preston from ’74
EC Westmorland, Kendal from ’74, Preston from ’81 EP Montgomeryshire, & Swansea from ’74
ED Warrington, & Liverpool from ’81 EQ Not Issued
EE Grimsby, Lincoln ER Cambridge, & Peterborough from ’81
EF West Hartlepool, & Middlesbrough from’74 ES Perthshire, & Dundee from ’74
EG Peterborough ET Rotherham, Sheffield
EH Stoke on Trent EU Breconshire, & Bristol from ’74
EI Not Issued EV Essex, & Chelmsford from ’74
EJ Cardigan, Aberystwyth from ’74, Bangor from ’81,Haverfordwest from ’83 EW Huntingdon, & Peterborough from ’74
EK Wigan, Warrington from ’74,Liverpool from ’81 EX Great Yarmouth, & Norwich from ’74
EL Bournemouth EY Anglesey, & Bangor from ’74
EM Bootle, & Liverpool from ’74 EZ Not Issued
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F_

FA Burton on Trent,& Stoke on Trent from ’74 FN Canterbury, & Maidstone from ’74
FB Bath, & Bristol from ’74 FO Radnor, Hereford from ’74, Gloucester from ’81,
FC Oxford FP Rutland, & Leicester from ’74
FD Dudley FQ Not Issued
FE Lincoln FR Blackpool, & Preston from ’74
FF Merioneth, Aberystwyth from ’74,Bangor from ’81 FS Edinburgh
FG Fife C.C., & Brighton from ’74 FT Tynemouth, & Newcastle ’74
FH Gloucester FU Grimsby, Lincoln
FI Not Issued FV Blackpool, & Preston from ’74
FJ Exeter FW Lindsey, Lincoln
FK Worcester, & Dudley from ’74 FX Dorset, & Bournemouth from ’74
FL Peterborough FY Southport, & Liverpool from ’74
FM Chester FZ Not Issued
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G_

GA Glasgow GN London
GB Glasgow GO London
GC London GP London
GD Glasgow GQ Not Issued
GE Glasgow GR Sunderland, Durham from ’74,Newcastle on Tyne from ’81
GF London GS Perthshire, & Luton from ’74
GG Glasgow GT London
GH London GU London
GI Not Issued GV West Suffolk, & Ipswich from ’74
GJ London GW London
GK London GX London
GL Bath, & Truro from ’74 GY London
GM Motherwell & Wishaw, & Reading from ’74 GZ Not Issued
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H_

HA Smethwick, Warley from ’74, Dudley from ’81 HN Darlington, & Middlesbrough from ’81
HB Merthyr Tydfil, & Cardiff from ’74 HO Hants, Salisbury from ’74,Bournemouth from’81
HC Eastbourne, Hastings from ’74,Brighton from ’81 HP Coventry
HD Dewsbury, & Huddersfield from ’74 HQ Not Issued
HE Barnsley, & Sheffield from ’74 HR Wiltshire, Swindon
HF Wallasey, & Liverpool from ’74 HS Renfrewshire, & Glasgow from ’74
HG Burnley, & Preston ’74 HT Bristol
HH Carlisle HU Bristol
HI Not Issued HV East Ham, GLC from ’65, & London from ’74
HJ Southend, & Chelmsford from ’74 HW Bristol
HK Essex, & Chelmsford from ’74 HX Middlesex, GLC from ’74, & London from ’81
HL Wakefield, & Sheffield from ’74 HY Bristol
HM East Ham, GLC from ’65, & London from ’74 HZ Not Issued
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I_

I ( and Z ) issued originally in Northern Ireland.
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J_

JA Stockport, & Manchester from ’74 JN Southend, & Chelmsford from ’74
JB Berkshire C.C., & Reading from ’74 JO Oxford
JC Caernarfon, & Bangor from ’74 JP Wigan, Warrington from ’74,Liverpool from ’81
JD West Ham, GLC from ’65,London from ’74 JQ Not Issued
JE Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire from ’65,Peterborough from ’74 JR Northumberland, Newcastle from ’74
JF Leicester JS Ross, Stornoway from ’74, Inverness from ’81
JG Canterbury, Maidstone from ’81 JT Dorset, & Bournemouth from ’74
JH Hertfordshire, & Reading from ’74 JU Leicester
JI Not Issued JV Grimsby, & Lincoln ’74,
JJ London, Canterbury from ’74,Maidstone from ’81 JW Wolverhampton, Birmingham ’74
JK Eastbourne, Hastings from ’74,Brighton from ’81 JX Halifax, & Huddersfield from ’74
JL Holland, Boston from ’74, Lincoln from ’81 JY Plymouth, & Exeter from ’81
JM Westmorland, & Reading from ’74 JZ Not Issued
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K_

KA Liverpool KN Kent, & Maidstone from ’74
B Liverpool KO Kent, & Maidstone from ’74
KC Liverpool KP Kent, & Maidstone from ’74
KD Liverpool KQ Not Issued
KE Kent, & Maidstone from ’74 KR Kent, & Maidstone from ’74
KF Liverpool KS Roxborough, Selkirk from ’74,Edinburgh from ’81
KG Cardiff KT Kent,Canterbury’74,Maidstone’81
KH Kingston on Hull KU Bradford, & Sheffield from ’74
KI Not Issued KV Coventry
KJ Kent, & Maidstone from ’74 KW Bradford, & Sheffield from ’74
KK Kent, & Maidstone from ’74 KX Buckinghamshire, Luton from ’74
KL Kent, & Maidstone from ’74 KY Bradford, Sheffield from ’74
KM Kent, & Maidstone from ’74 KZ Not Issued
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L_

LA London LN London
LB London LO London
LC London LP London
LD London LQ Not Issued
LE London LR London
LF London LS Selkirk,& Stirling from ’74,Edinburgh from ’81
LG Cheshire, Chester LT London
LH London LU London
LI Not Issued LV Liverpool
LJ Bournemouth LW London
LK London LX London
LL London LY London
LM London LZ Not Issued
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M_

MA Cheshire, Chester MN Isle of Man
MB Cheshire, Chester MO Berkshire, & Reading from ’74
MC Middlesex, London from ’74 MP Middlesex, London from ’74
MD Middlesex, London from ’74 MQ Not Issued
ME Middlesex, London from ’74 MR Wiltshire, Swindon from ’74
MF Middlesex, London from ’74 MS Stirling, & Edinburgh from ’81
MG Middlesex, London from ’74 MT Middlesex, London from ’74
MH Middlesex, London from ’74 MU Middlesex, London from ’74
MI Not Issued MV Middlesex, London from ’74
MJ MW
MK Middlesex, London from ’74 MX Middlesex, London from ’74
ML Middlesex, London from ’74 MY Middlesex, London from ’74
MM Middlesex, London from ’74 MZ Not Issued
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N_

NA Manchester NN Nottinghamshire
NB Manchester NO Essex C.C., Chelmsford from ’74
NC Manchester NP Worcester
ND Manchester NQ Not Issued
NE Manchester NR Leicester
NF Manchester NS Sutherland, & Glasgow from ’74
NG Norfolk, Norwich from ’74 NT Shropshire, Shrewsbury from ’74
NH Northampton NU Derbyshire, Nottingham from ’74
NI Not Issued NV Northampton
NJ East Sussex, Brighton from ’74 NW Leeds
NK Hertfordshire, Luton from ’74 NX Warwickshire C.C., Dudley from ’74
NL Northumberland, Newcastle from ’74 NY Glamorganshire, Cardiff from ’74
NM Bedfordshire, & Luton from ’74 NZ Not Issued
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O_

OA Birmingham ON Birmingham
OB Birmingham OO Essex C.C., Chelmsford from ’74
OC Birmingham OP Birmingham
OD Birmingham OQ Not Issued
OE Birmingham OR Hampshire, Portsmouth from ’74
OF Birmingham OS Wigton, Stranraer from ’74,Glasgow from ’81
OG Birmingham OT Hampshire, Portsmouth from ’74
OH Birmingham OU Hampshire, & Bristol from ’74
OI Not Issued OV Birmingham
OJ Birmingham OW Southampton, Portsmouth from ’74
OK Birmingham OX Birmingham
OL Birmingham OY Croydon, & London ’74,
OM Birmingham OZ Not Issued
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P_

PA Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PN East Sussex, & Brighton from’74
PB Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PO West Sussex, & Portsmouth from ’74
PC Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PP Buckinghamshire, Luton from ’74
PD Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PQ Not Issued
PE Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PR Dorset, & Bournemouth from ’74
PF Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PS Zetland,Lerwick’74,Aberdeen from ’81
PG Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PT Durham, & Newcastle from ’81
PH Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PU Essex, & Chelmsford from ’74
PI Not Issued PV Ipswich
PJ Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PW Norfolk, Norwich from ’74
PK Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PX West Sussex, Portsmouth ’74
PL Surrey, & Guildford from ’74 PY Yorkshire, & Middlesbrough ’74
PM East Sussex, & Guildford from ’74 PZ Not Issued
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Q_

Q not used by any county/office.
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R_

RA Derbyshire, & Nottingham from ’74 RN Preston
RB Derbyshire, & Nottingham from ’74 RO Hertfordshire, & Luton from ’74
RC Derbyshire, & Nottingham from ’74 RP Northampton
RD Reading RQ Not Issued
RE Staffordshire, & Stoke on Trent from ’74 RR Nottingham
RF Staffordshire, & Stoke on Trent from ’74 RS Aberdeen
RG Aberdeen, & Newcastle from ’74 RT East Suffolk, & Ipswich from ’74
RH Kingston on Hull, Hull from ’74 RU Bournemouth
RI Not Issued RV Portsmouth
RJ Salford, & Manchester from ’74 RW Coventry
RK Croydon, London from ’74 RX Berkshire, & Reading from ’74
RL Cornwall, & Truro from ’74 RY Leicester
RM Cumberland, & Carlisle from ’74 RZ Not Issued
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S_

SA Aberdeen SN Dunbarton C.C., & Dundee from ’74
SB Argyll, Oban from ’74, Glasgow from ’81 SO Morayshire, & Aberdeen from ’74
SC Edinburgh SP Fife, & Dundee from ’74
SD Ayreshire, & Glasgow from ’81 SQ Not Issued
SE Banff, Keith from ’74, Aberdeen from ’81 SR Angus, & Dundee from ’74
SF Edinburgh SS East Lothian, Aberdeen from ’74
SG Edinburgh ST Inverness
SH Berwick, Selkirk from ’74,Edinburgh from ’81 SU Kincardine, Glasgow from ’74, now on age related plates only
SI Not Issued SV Kinross, not used after ’74, now on age related plates only
SJ Bute C.C., Ayr from ’74, Glasgow from ’81, SW Kirkudbright, Dumfries from ’74Carlisle from ’81
SK Caithness,Wick’74,Inverness from ’81, now on age related plates only SX West Lothian, Edinburgh from ’81
SL Clackmanan, Dundee from ’74 SY Midlothian CC
SM Dumfries, & Carlisle from ’74 now on age related plates only SZ Not Issued
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T_

TA Devon, & Exeter from ’74 TN Newcastle on Tyne
TB Lancashire, Warrington from ’74,Liverpool from ’81 TO Nottingham
TC Lancashire, Bristol from ’74 TP Portsmouth
TD Lancashire, & Bolton from ’74,Manchester from ’81 TQ Not Issued
TE Lancashire, & Bolton from ’74,Manchester from ’81 TR Southampton, & Portsmouth from ’74
TF Lancashire, Reading from ’74 TS Dundee
TG Glamorgan, & Cardiff from ’74 TT Devonshire, then Exeter from ’74
TH Carmarthen, & Swansea from ’74 TU Cheshire, Chester from ’74
TI Not Issued TV Nottingham
TJ Lancashire, & Liverpool from ’74 TW Essex, & Chelmsford from ’74
TK Dorset, Plymouth from ’74,Exeter ’81 TX Glamorgan, Cardiff from ’74
Turn Left Kesteven, Lincolnshire, Lincoln from ’74 TY Northumberland, & Newcastle ’74
TM Bedfordshire, & Luton from ’74 TZ Not Issued
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U_

UA Leeds UN Denbigh, Barnstable from ’74,Exeter from ’81
UB Leeds UO Devon, Barnstable from ’74,Exeter from ’81
UC London UP Durham, Newcastle from ’81
UD Oxford UQ Not Issued
UE Warwickshire, Dudley from ’74 UR Herts, & Luton from ’74
UF Brighton US Govan, Glasgow from ’33,
UG Leeds UT Leicester
UH Cardiff UU London
UI Not Issued UV London
UJ Shropshire, Shrewsbury ’74 UW London
UK Wolverhampton, Birmingham from ’74 UX Shropshire, Shrewsbury from ’74
UL London UY Worcester
UM Leeds UZ Not Issued
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V_

VA Lanark, Cambridge from ’74,Peterborough from ’81 VN Yorkshire North Riding, Middlesbrough from ’74
VB Croydon, London from ’65, Canterbury from ’74, Maidstone from ’81 VO Nottingham
VC Coventry VP Birmingham
VD Lanark, Luton from ’74 VQ Not Issued
VE Cambridgeshire, Peterborough from ’81 VR Manchester
VF Norfolk, Norwich from ’74 VS Greenock; & Luton from ’74, used as Age related plates only now
VG Norwich VT Stoke on Trent
VH Huddersfield VU Manchester
VI Not Issued VV Northampton
VJ Hereford, Gloucester from ’81 VW Essex, & Chelmsford from ’74
VK Newcastle on Tyne VX Essex, Chelmsford from ’74
VL Lincoln VY York, Leeds from ’74
VM Manchester VZ Not Issued
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W_

WA Sheffield WN Swansea
WB Sheffield WO Monmouth, & Cardiff from ’74
WC Essex, Chelmsford from ’74 WP Worcester
WD Warwickshire, & Dudley from ’74 WQ Not Issued
WE Sheffield WR Yorkshire West Riding. Leeds from ’74
WF Yorks.E.R., Sheffield ’74 WS Leith, Edinburgh from ’74, Bristol from ’81
WG Stirlingshire, & Sheffield from ’74 WT Yorkshire West Riding. Leeds from ’74
WH Bolton, Manchester from ’81 WU Yorkshire West Riding. Leeds from ’74
WI Not Issued WV Wiltshire, & Brighton from ‘74
WJ Sheffield WW Wiltshire, & Brighton from ‘74
WK Coventry WX Yorkshire West Riding. Leeds from ’74
WL Oxford WY Yorkshire West Riding. Leeds from ’74
WM Southport, Liverpool from ’74 WZ Not Issued
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X_ None now in use.

XA London XN London
XB London XO London
XC London XP London
XD London XQ Not Issued
XE London XR London
XF London XS Paisley
XG Middlesbrough, Teesside from ’74 XT London
XH London XU London
XI Not Issued XV London
XJ London XW London
XK London XX London
XL London XY London
XM London XZ Not Issued
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Y_

YA Somerset, Taunton from ’74 YN London
YB Somerset, Taunton from ’74 YO London
YC Somerset, Taunton from ’74 YP London
YD Somerset, Taunton from ’74 YQ Not Issued
YE London YR London
YF London YS London
YG Yorkshire West Riding. Leeds from ’74 YT London
YH London YU London
YI Not Issued YV London
YJ Dundee, & Brighton from ’74 YW London
YK London YX London
YL London YY London
YM London YZ Not Issued
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Z_ Z ( and I ) originally used in Northern Ireland.

 

Suffix marks introduced in 1963, but not all authorities used them until late in 1964. Starting dates.

 

Suffix Start Date Prefix Start Date
A 01.02.63 01.08.83
B 01.01.64 01.08.84
C 01.01.65 01.08.85
D 01.01.66 01.08.86
E 01.01.67 01.08.87
F 01.08.67 01.08.88
G 01.08.68 01.08.89
H 01.08.69 01.08.90
I Not Issued
J 01.08.70 01.08.91
K 01.08.71 01.08.92
L 01.08.72 01.08.93
M 01.08.73 01.08.94
N 01.08.74 01.08.95
O Not Issued
P 01.08.75 01.08.96
Q From 01.08.83*
R 01.08.76 01.08.97
S 01.08.77 01.08.98
T 01.08.78
U Not Issued
V 01.08.79
W 01.08.80
X 01.08.81
Y 01.08.82
Z Not Issued

* Used for vehicles of indeterminate age / origin.

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NOTE: An excellent book, now out of print, but often available from a library, is by Phillip Riden, Trace the History of Your Car, 1991. ISBN 1 873361 05 X. This goes into which authorities have kept records (many of which have not) with addresses you can write to in order to obtain a copy of your cars initial registration.

 

Today, with the selling of registration plates by Swansea, tracing is not so easy any more. DVLA can help with post 1974 cars, and addresses of your Local Vehicle Licensing Office can be found at the main Post Office in your town.

 

This document relates to registration / license plates issued in the United Kingdom only.

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