Thanks to Darryl at 453 you can listen to the speech made by Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts proposing the motion, in which he outlines the 'great Royal Heritage' of Greenwich and its 'history... defined by royal presence and patronage'. It is true that there is a deep historical connection between Greenwich and royalty, though this is somewhat overstated. The royal palace at Greenwich was a key location for the Tudors (Henry VIII etc.), but was only built in the 15th century when the royal park was enclosed (or stolen from the commons if you prefer). Less than 200 year later its time as a royal residence came to an end with the execution of King Charles I during the English Civil War, when a significant proportion of the population successfully fought against the absolute power of the monarchy. The royal palace was used a biscuit factory for a while, then pulled down after it fell into decay.
Of course there have been 'Royal' connections since such as the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich and the Royal Naval College in Greenwich itself, but their names simply reflect the convention of naming government institutions as 'royal' rather than any actual royal presence.
Royalty and Empire
In his speech, Chris Roberts referred to 'the great navigators, soldiers and sailors who... fought for the Empire' without the slightest acknowledgement that this history was not always so glowing. For the ancestors of many of the people living in Greenwich today, the experience of this royal/colonial adventure was conquest, plunder and slavery. And yes, South East London was deeply implicated in this, with slavers living in Blackheath, and slave ships heading out from Deptford.
To uncritically celebrate Greenwich's royal/colonial connections is to the deny the crimes and the complexity of the past, and also has implications for the present. It is no coincidence that the fiercest guardians of this royal pageant version of history are also extremely reactionary about present events. Take the royalist historian David Starkey (no please, take him). He is curating an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich next year on 'Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames'. His response to the recent riots? A rant on Newsnight that Enoch Powell was 'absolutely right' and that the problem is that 'the whites have become black.' I hope Greenwich Council won't be welcoming this racist to the borough in future.
Seriously though there is something very sad about an acceptance of Greenwich's status as a Royal theme park, resting on some imagined feudal heritage rather than looking to the future. Greenwich needs a new story as a place where history is being made now rather than simply conserved - maybe the 'Tinie Tempah Borough of Greenwich'?!