Royal Charter
Overview
 
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 as letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 or universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

. Charters should be distinguished from warrants
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

 and letters of appointment, as they have perpetual effect. Typically, a royal charter is produced as a high-quality work of calligraphy
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

.

Charters have been used in Europe since mediæval times to create cities (i.e., localities with recognised legal rights and privileges).
Timeline

1194    King Richard I of England gives Portsmouth its first Royal Charter.

1554    A royal Charter is granted to Derby School in Derby, England.

1629    The Massachusetts Bay Colony is granted a Royal charter.

1663    Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.

1694    A Royal Charter is granted to the Bank of England.

1732    James Oglethorpe is granted a royal charter for the colony of Georgia.

1899    The St. Andrew's Ambulance Association is granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.

1912    The Scout Association is incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal Charter.

1917    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is established through Royal Charter to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military forces.

Encyclopedia
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 as letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 or universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

. Charters should be distinguished from warrants
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

 and letters of appointment, as they have perpetual effect. Typically, a royal charter is produced as a high-quality work of calligraphy
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

.

Charters have been used in Europe since mediæval times to create cities (i.e., localities with recognised legal rights and privileges). The date that such a charter was granted is considered to be when a city was "founded", regardless of when the locality originally began to be settled.

At one time a royal charter was the only way in which an incorporated body could be formed, but other means (such as the registration process for limited companies
Limited company
A limited company is a company in which the liability of the members or subscribers of the company is limited to what they have invested or guaranteed to the company. Limited companies may be limited by shares or by guarantee. And the former of these, a limited company limited by shares, may be...

) are generally now used instead.

Among the past and present groups formed by royal charter are the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, the Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which is usually known as P&O, is a British shipping and logistics company which dated from the early 19th century. Following its sale in March 2006 to Dubai Ports World for £3.9 billion, it became a subsidiary of DP World; however, the P&O...

 (P&O), the British South Africa Company
British South Africa Company
The British South Africa Company was established by Cecil Rhodes through the amalgamation of the Central Search Association and the Exploring Company Ltd., receiving a royal charter in 1889...

, and some of the former British colonies on the North American mainland
British colonization of the Americas
British colonization of the Americas began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas...

.

Universities and colleges

  • The University of Sydney
    University of Sydney
    The University of Sydney is a public university located in Sydney, New South Wales. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the southwestern outskirts of the Sydney CBD. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest university in Australia and Oceania...

     obtained a Royal Charter in 1858
  • The University of Sussex
    University of Sussex
    The University of Sussex is an English public research university situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, within the city of Brighton and Hove. The University received its Royal Charter in August 1961....

     obtained a Royal Charter in 1961

Professional organisations

  • The Chartered Insurance Institute
    Chartered Insurance Institute
    The Chartered Insurance Institute is a United Kingdom based professional organisation for those working in the insurance and financial services industries....

     (CII)
  • The Society for the Environment
    Society for the Environment
    The Society for the Environment is an umbrella body that can license its member institutions to confer chartered status on sustainability and environmental professionals worldwide...

     (SoE)
  • Chartered Institute of Building
    Chartered Institute of Building
    The Chartered Institute of Building is a body that represents professionals who work within the built environment in the United Kingdom.- History :...

     (CIOB)
  • Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
  • The Institute of Directors
    Institute of Directors
    The Institute of Directors is a UK-based organisation, established in 1903 and incorporated by royal charter in 1906 to support, represent and set standards for company directors...

     (IoD)
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development
  • Chartered Institute of Marketing
    Chartered Institute of Marketing
    The Chartered Institute of Marketing claims to be the world's largest organisation of professional marketers. It is based in UK with over 40,000 members worldwide. It's headquarters are in Cookham near Maidenhead, CIM offers professional development to marketing practitioners across the world...

     (CIM)
  • Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS)
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
    Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
    The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons is the body responsible for training and examining surgeons in Australia and New Zealand. The head office of the College is in Melbourne, Australia....

  • Australian Institute of Building
    Australian Institute of Building
    The Australian Institute of Building is a professional society founded in 1951, incorporated in 1955 and granted a Royal Charter in 1969. It has chapter offices in Hong Kong and Singapore and had a chapter office in New Zealand until the formation of the New Zealand Institute of Building in...

  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
    Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
    The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is a United Kingdom-based professional body offering training and qualification in management accountancy and related subjects, focused on accounting for business; together with ongoing support for members.CIMA is one of a number of professional...

  • Engineers Australia
    Engineers Australia
    The Institution of Engineers Australia, often shortened to IEAust and trading as Engineers Australia, is a professional body and not-for-profit organisation dedicated to being the national forum for the advancement of the engineering field within Australia...

  • Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
    Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
    The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators is an international professional membership body and a recognised authority on corporate governance.-History:The organisation was founded in 1891 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1902...

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia
    Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia
    The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia is the professional accounting body representing Chartered Accountants in Australia. It has over 50,000 members and has some 12,000 students. It is a founding member of the Global Accounting Alliance .-History:The Institute of Chartered...

  • Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia Incorporated
    Royal Adelaide Show
    The Royal Adelaide Show also known as the Royal Show or simply The Show, is an annual agricultural show/fair held in Adelaide, South Australia that begins on the first Friday in September, or the last Friday in August, and runs for 9 days. It is held at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds, located in...

  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
    Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
    The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is the principal organisation representing the medical specialty of psychiatry in Australia and New Zealand and has responsibility for training, examining and awarding the qualification of Fellowship of the College to medical...

  • Royal Australian Artillery Association
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
    Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
    The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is the body responsible for training and examining obstetricians and gynaecologists in New Zealand and Australia...

  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
    Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
    The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is an organisation dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and advancement in surgical practice, through its interest in education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical workforce...

  • Royal Town Planning Institute
    Royal Town Planning Institute
    The Royal Town Planning Institute is a body representing planning professionals in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. It was founded in 1914.-Members:...

  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
    Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
    The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is an independent, representative professional body which regulates property professionals and surveyors in the United Kingdom and other sovereign nations....

     (RICS)
  • Royal Institute of British Architects
    Royal Institute of British Architects
    The Royal Institute of British Architects is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally.-History:...

     (RIBA)
  • Royal Australian Chemical Institute
    Royal Australian Chemical Institute
    The Royal Australian Chemical Institute Inc. is both the qualifying body in Australia for professional chemists and a learned society promoting the science and practice of chemistry in all its branches. The RACI hosts conferences, seminars and workshops...

  • Institution of Engineering and Technology
    Institution of Engineering and Technology
    The Institution of Engineering and Technology is a British professional body for those working in engineering and technology in the United Kingdom and worldwide. It was formed in 2006 from two separate institutions: the Institution of Electrical Engineers , dating back to 1871, and the...

  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
    Commonwealth War Graves Commission
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves, and places of commemoration, of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars...

  • Institution of Engineers (India)
  • Institution of Engineers
    Institution of Engineers
    The Institution of Engineers is the national organization of engineering professionals in India. IEI has over 0.5 million members from 15 engineering disciplines in 99 centres/chapters in India and overseas; it is the largest multi-disciplinary engineering professional society in the...

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ACCA
    Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
    Founded in 1904, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is the global body for professional accountants offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification . it is one of the largest and fastest-growing global accountancy bodies with 147,000 members and 424,000 students in 170...

  • Landscape Institute
    Landscape Institute
    The Landscape Institute is a British professional body for landscape architects. Founded in 1929 as the Institute of Landscape Architects, it was granted a Royal Charter in 1997. The Institute aims to promote landscape architecture, and to regulate the profession with a code of conduct that...

    , the UK professional organisation and educational charity for Landscape Architects
  • Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Belgium

The royal decree is the equivalent in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 of a Royal Charter. In the period before 1958, 32 higher education institutes had been by royal charter: these were typically engineering or technical institutions rather than universities.

However, several non-technical higher education institutions have been founded, or refounded, under royal decree:
  • Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique, National Fund for Scientific Research, 1928
  • Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten, 1938
  • International Institute for Research and Education
    International Institute for Research and Education
    The International Institute for Research and Education is a research and educational centre based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It conducts training and publishes research for and by progressive activists around the world....

    , 1982


Since the Belgian state reform of 1988-1989, competency over education was transferred to the federated entities of Belgium. Royal decrees can therefore no longer grant higher education institution status or university status.

Canada

A Royal Charter is granted by Order in Council, either creating an incorporated body, or giving an existent one special status. This is an exercise of the Royal Prerogative
Royal Prerogative
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy as belonging to the sovereign alone. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and...

, and, in Canada, there are hundreds of organizations under Royal Charters. Such organizations include charities, businesses, colleges, universities, and cities. Today, it is mostly charities and professional institutions who receive Royal Charters.

Application for a charter is a petition to the Queen-in-Council
Queen-in-Council
The Queen-in-Council is, in each of the Commonwealth realms, the technical term of constitutional law that refers to the exercise of executive authority, denoting the monarch acting by and with the advice and consent of his or her privy council or executive council The Queen-in-Council (during...

. To receive a Royal Charter, the organization must have corporate members who have at least first degree level in a relevant field, consist of 5,000 members or more, be financially sound, and it must be in the public interest to regulate the institution under a charter. However, meeting these benchmarks does not guarantee the issuance of a Royal Charter.

Companies and societies

Companies, corporations, and societies in Canada founded under or augmented by a Royal Charter include:
  • The Hudson's Bay Company
    Hudson's Bay Company
    The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1670 by King Charles II
    Charles II of England
    Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

  • The Royal Commonwealth Society
    Royal Commonwealth Society
    The Royal Commonwealth Society is an international educational charity and a private members' club. Its mission is to support and promote the modern Commonwealth, its culture and core values...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1882 by Queen Victoria
    Victoria of the United Kingdom
    Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

  • The Royal Society of Canada
    Royal Society of Canada
    The Royal Society of Canada , may also operate under the more descriptive name RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada , is the oldest association of scientists and scholars in Canada...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1883 by Queen Victoria
  • The Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1898 by Queen Victoria
  • The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
    Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
    The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is a national, non-profit, charitable organization devoted to the advancement of astronomy and related sciences. At present, there are 29 local branches of the Society, called centres, located in towns and cities across the country from St. John's,...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1903 by King Edward VII
    Edward VII of the United Kingdom
    Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

  • Scouts Canada
    Scouts Canada
    Scouts Canada is a Canadian Scouting association that, in affiliation with the French-language Association des Scouts du Canada, is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1912 by King George V
    George V of the United Kingdom
    George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

  • The Royal Academy of Dance
    Royal Academy of Dance
    The Royal Academy of Dance is an international dance education and training organization, and examination board that specialises in the teaching and technique of Ballet. The RAD was established in London, England in 1920 as the Association of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain, and received its...

    ; founded in 1920 as the Association of Teachers of Operatic Dancing; reconstituted by a Royal Charter issued in 1936 by King George V
  • The Royal Conservatory of Music; founded in 1886 as the Toronto Conservatory of Music; reconstituted by a Royal Charter issued in 1947 by King George VI
    George VI of the United Kingdom
    George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

  • The Royal Winnipeg Ballet
    Royal Winnipeg Ballet
    The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is Canada's oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America....

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1953 by Queen Elizabeth II
    Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
    Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

  • The Royal Life Saving Society of Canada
    Royal Life Saving Society of Canada
    The Royal Life Saving Society Canada operates throughout Canada as the Lifesaving Society. The Society works to prevent drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart public education, water-incident research, safety management and lifesaving sport...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1960 by Queen Elizabeth II
  • The Royal Hamilton College of Music; founded in 1897 as the Hamilton Conservatory of Music; reconstituted by a Royal Charter issued in 1965 by Queen Elizabeth II
  • The Royal Western Nova Scotia Yacht Club; founded in 1898 as the Digby Yacht Club; reconstituted by a Royal Charter issued in 1969 by Queen Elizabeth II
  • Royal Ontario Museum
    Royal Ontario Museum
    The Royal Ontario Museum is a museum of world culture and natural history in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. With its main entrance facing Bloor Street in Downtown Toronto, the museum is situated north of Queen's Park and east of Philosopher's Walk in the University of Toronto...

    , created in 1912 under the Royal Ontario Museum Act by the Province of Ontario, hence not created by a royal charter
  • Royal Canadian Yacht Club
    Royal Canadian Yacht Club
    The Royal Canadian Yacht Club is a boating club based in Toronto, Canada.It was founded in 1852 as the Toronto Boat Club, a recreational club and unofficial auxiliary of the Royal Navy on Lake Ontario. In 1854, the club successfully petitioned Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom for the right to...

     created by Royal Charter 1854
  • The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada
    Royal Heraldry Society of Canada
    The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada is a Canadian organization that promotes the art of Canadian Heraldry. Founded as the Heraldry Society of Canada, the mission of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada and its branches is to promote the art of heraldry, particularly Canadian heraldry, and to...

    ; founded in 1966 as the Heraldry Society of Canada; reconstituted by a Royal Charter issued in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II

Territories and communities

Cities under Royal Charter are not subject to municipal Acts of parliament applied generally to other municipalities, and instead are governed by legislation applicable to each city individually. The Royal Charter codifies the laws applied to the particular city, and lays out the powers and responsibilities not given to other municipalities in the province concerned.
  • Saint John
    Saint John, New Brunswick
    City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1785 by King George III
    George III of the United Kingdom
    George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

  • Vancouver
    Vancouver
    Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

  • Winnipeg
    Winnipeg
    Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

  • Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

  • Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1621 by King James I
    James I of England
    James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

  • St. John's
    St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
    St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 192,326 as of July 1, 2010, the St...

    ; claimed as England's first oversea colony by Royal Carter issued in 1583 by Queen Elizabeth I
    Elizabeth I of England
    Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...


Universities and colleges

A number of Canadian universities and colleges were founded under Royal Charter.
  • The University of King's College
    University of King's College
    The University of King's College is a post-secondary institution in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. King's is a small liberal arts university offering mainly undergraduate programs....

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1802 by King George III
    George III of the United Kingdom
    George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

  • King's-Edgehill School
    King's-Edgehill School
    King's-Edgehill School is a Canadian independent University Preparatory boarding and day School located in the town of Windsor, Nova Scotia.-History:...

    ; founded as King's Collegiate School by Royal Assent in 1788 and granted Royal Charter in 1802 by King George III
  • McGill University
    McGill University
    Mohammed Fathy is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university...

    ; founded as the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning by a Royal Charter issued in 1821 by King George IV
    George IV of the United Kingdom
    George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

    ; reconstituted by a Royal Charter issued in 1852 by Queen Victoria
    Victoria of the United Kingdom
    Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

  • The University of Toronto
    University of Toronto
    The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

    ; founded as King's College by a Royal Proclamation issued in 1827 by King George IV
  • Upper Canada College
    Upper Canada College
    Upper Canada College , located in midtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is an independent elementary and secondary school for boys between Senior Kindergarten and Grade Twelve, operating under the International Baccalaureate program. The secondary school segment is divided into ten houses; eight are...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1829 by King George IV
  • Queen's University
    Queen's University
    Queen's University, , is a public research university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Founded on 16 October 1841, the university pre-dates the founding of Canada by 26 years. Queen's holds more more than of land throughout Ontario as well as Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1841 by Queen Victoria
    Victoria of the United Kingdom
    Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

  • Université Laval
    Université Laval
    Laval University is the oldest centre of education in Canada and was the first institution in North America to offer higher education in French...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1852 by Queen Victoria
  • The University of Trinity College
    University of Trinity College
    The University of Trinity College, informally referred to as Trin, is a college of the University of Toronto, founded in 1851 by Bishop John Strachan. Trinity was intended by Strachan as a college of strong Anglican alignment, after the University of Toronto severed its ties with the Church of...

     (later became a constituent college of the University of Toronto); given university status by a Royal Charter issued by Queen Victoria in 1852
  • Bishop's University
    Bishop's University
    Bishop's University is a predominantly undergraduate university in Lennoxville, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Bishop's is one of three universities in the province of Quebec that teach primarily in the English language...

    ; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1853 by Queen Victoria

Hong Kong

Between 1842-1997, a number of organizations had received Royal Charter:
  • Royal Hong Kong Regiment (The Volunteers) was granted Royal Charter in 1951 and disbanded in 1995
  • Royal Hong Kong Police Force was granted Royal Charter in 1969 by Queen Elizabeth II, now Hong Kong Police Force (since 1997).
  • Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club obtained Royal Charter in 1959, now Hong Kong Jockey Club (since 1996).
  • Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
    Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
    The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is a Hong Kong sports club for sailing and rowing.Founded as Hong Kong Corinthian Sailing Club in 1890 and became the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in 1894....

     was granted Royal Charter in 1894
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Hong Kong)
    The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a charity for animals in Hong Kong.-Background:Before 1997, it was named the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ...

     - now the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Hong Kong)(since 1997)
  • Royal Observatory, Hong Kong was granted Royal Charter in 1912 by King George V
    George V of the United Kingdom
    George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

     - now Hong Kong Observatory (since 1997)
  • Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force
    Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force
    The Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force was an auxiliary unit of the United Kingdom Royal Air Force, based in Hong Kong. In preparation for the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, the unit was disbanded on 1 April 1993.Although technically an armed...

     was granted Royal Charter in 1951 by King George VI - now Government Flying Service
    Government Flying Service (Hong Kong)
    The Government Flying Service is a disciplined unit of the Government of Hong Kong. It was established on 1 April 1993, when Hong Kong was under British rule. It then took over all the non-military operations of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force , which was an auxiliary unit of the United...

     (since 1993)
  • Royal Hong Kong Golf Club was granted Royal Charter in 1889 - now Hong Kong Golf Club
    Hong Kong Golf Club
    The Hong Kong Golf Club is a private golf club, and is one of only a few in Hong Kong. It is home to the Hong Kong Open, a tournament co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours....

     (since 1996)
  • Standard Chartered Bank
    Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong)
    Standard Chartered Bank Limited is a licensed bank incorporated in Hong Kong, part of Standard Chartered Bank...

     was granted Royal Charter in 1853. It is one of the three banknote-issuing banks in Hong Kong.
  • The Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch
    Royal Asiatic Society
    The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was established, according to its Royal Charter of 11 August 1824, to further "the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia." From its incorporation the Society...


Ireland

A number of Irish institutions still have a "Royal" prefix, even though the country has been a republic since 1949.
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
    Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
    The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland , is a Dublin-based medical institution, situated on St. Stephen's Green. The college is one of the five Recognised Colleges of the National University of Ireland...

     (1784)
  • Royal Black Institution (1797)
  • Royal Irish Academy
    Royal Irish Academy
    The Royal Irish Academy , based in Dublin, is an all-Ireland, independent, academic body that promotes study and excellence in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is one of Ireland's premier learned societies and cultural institutions and currently has around 420 Members, elected in...

     - Charter granted 1785
  • Royal Cork Yacht Club
    Royal Cork Yacht Club
    The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the world's oldest founded in 1720, although this record is challenged by the Neva Yacht Club.- Formation and claim to be the world's first yacht club :...

     - (Est. 1720)


A more detailed list of current Irish institutions with Royal patronage is available here

A list of former Royal institutions with ties to Ireland, but they were mostly British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 institutions created in Ireland during British rule:
  • Royal Irish Regiment (1684–1922) - disbanded
  • Royal Irish Constabulary
    Royal Irish Constabulary
    The armed Royal Irish Constabulary was Ireland's major police force for most of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police controlled the capital, and the cities of Derry and Belfast, originally with their own police...

     1868-1922 - disbanded and replaced by Garda Síochána
    Garda Síochána
    , more commonly referred to as the Gardaí , is the police force of Ireland. The service is headed by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are located in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.- Terminology :...

  • Royal Irish Artillery
    Royal Irish Artillery
    The Royal Irish Artillery was an Irish regiment of the British army in the 18th century. It was formed in 1755 as The Artillery Company of Ireland. The name was changed in 1760 to The Royal Regiment of Irish Artillery...

     - disbanded 1801
  • Royal Irish Rifles - disbanded 1763
  • Royal Ulster Rifles
    Royal Ulster Rifles
    The Royal Ulster Rifles was a British Army infantry regiment. It saw service in the Second Boer War, Great War, the Second World War and the Korean War, before being amalgamated into the Royal Irish Rangers in 1968.-History:...

     1793-1881 - renamed Royal Irish Rifles and retained name until 1921 (renamed as Royal Ulster Rifles until 1947 when it merged with Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
    Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
    The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was a Irish infantry regiment of the British Army formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 27th Regiment of Foot and the 108th Regiment of Foot...

     and Royal Irish Fusiliers
    Royal Irish Fusiliers
    The Royal Irish Fusiliers was an Irish infantry regiment of the British Army, formed by the amalgamation of the 87th Regiment of Foot and the 89th Regiment of Foot in 1881. The regiment's first title in 1881 was Princess Victoria's , changed in 1920 to The Royal Irish Fusiliers...

     to form North Irish Brigade
    North Irish Brigade
    After the Second World War there were 14 infantry depots in Britain, each bearing a letter. The depots were territorially aligned, and Infantry Depot M at Omagh was aligned with the regiments from Northern Ireland...

  • Royal Irish Fusiliers
    Royal Irish Fusiliers
    The Royal Irish Fusiliers was an Irish infantry regiment of the British Army, formed by the amalgamation of the 87th Regiment of Foot and the 89th Regiment of Foot in 1881. The regiment's first title in 1881 was Princess Victoria's , changed in 1920 to The Royal Irish Fusiliers...

     1827-1947
  • Royal University of Ireland
    Royal University of Ireland
    The Royal University of Ireland was founded in accordance with the University Education Act 1879 as an examining and degree-awarding university based on the model of the University of London. A Royal Charter was issued on April 27, 1880 and examinations were opened to candidates irrespective of...

     1880-1908
  • Royal Irish Fisheries Company
  • trinity college dublin

United Kingdom

Among the 750 or so organisations with Royal Charters are cities
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

; the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

; the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

; theatres such as the Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The...

 and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, a borough of London. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663,...

; Livery Companies; universities (mostly those founded before 1993); professional institutions, such as the Institution of Royal Engineers and charities.

A Royal Charter is the manner in which a British town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 is raised to the rank of city. Most recently Inverness
Inverness
Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for the Highland council area, and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland...

, Brighton & Hove
Brighton & Hove
Brighton and Hove is a unitary authority area and city on the south coast of England. It is England's most populous seaside resort.In 1997 Brighton and Hove were joined to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, which was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the millennium...

 and Wolverhampton were given their charters to celebrate the millennium, and Preston
City of Preston, Lancashire
The City of Preston is a city and non-metropolitan district in Lancashire, England. It is located on the north bank of the River Ribble, and was granted city status in 2002, becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign...

, Stirling, Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

, Lisburn
Lisburn
DemographicsLisburn Urban Area is within Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area and is classified as a Large Town by the . On census day there were 71,465 people living in Lisburn...

 and Newry
Newry
Newry is a city in Northern Ireland. The River Clanrye, which runs through the city, formed the historic border between County Armagh and County Down. It is from Belfast and from Dublin. Newry had a population of 27,433 at the 2001 Census, while Newry and Mourne Council Area had a population...

 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of
Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II was the international celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth II to the thrones of seven countries, upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952, and was intended by the Queen to be both a commemoration of her 50...

 Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 in 2002.

Most British universities operate under Royal Charters, which give them the power to grant degrees. The most recent generation of UK universities were granted the power to grant degrees by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992
Further and Higher Education Act 1992
The Further and Higher Education Acts 1992 made changes in the funding and administration of further education and higher education within the United Kingdom. The most visible result was to allow thirty-five polytechnics to become universities. In addition the Act created bodies to fund higher...

 instead of by Royal Charter, while some other universities operate under Acts of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

. The University of Buckingham
University of Buckingham
The University of Buckingham is an independent, non-sectarian, research and teaching university located in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England, on the banks of the River Great Ouse. It was originally founded as Buckingham University College in the 1970s and received its Royal Charter from the...

 and Malvern College are the only private education institutions that have received a royal charter.

The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 operates under a Royal Charter which lasts for a limited period of ten years, after which it is renewed.

Most Royal Charters are now granted to professional institutions and to charities such as The Royal Photographic Society
Royal Photographic Society
The Royal Photographic Society is the world's oldest national photographic society. It was founded in London, United Kingdom in 1853 as The Photographic Society of London with the objective of promoting the Art and Science of Photography...

. For example, the six accountancy institutes which make up the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies
Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies
The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies is an umbrella group for the chartered professional bodies of British qualified accountants.The CCAB was formed in 1974 and has six members:* Association of Chartered Certified Accountants...

 each have a Royal Charter which allows their members to call themselves Chartered Accountants. A Charter is not necessary for them to operate, but one is often sought as a recognition of "pre-eminence, stability and permanence".

A Royal Charter changes a body from a collection of individuals into a single legal entity. Once incorporated by Royal Charter, amendments to the Charter and by-laws require government approval.

United States

Although several American universities which predate the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 purport to hold royal charters, in a number of cases they were in fact created by a grant from a local authority such as a colonial legislature.

Colleges created by royal charter from King William III and Queen Mary II
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

:
  • The College of William & Mary 1693


Colleges created by King George II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

 of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

:
  • Columbia University
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

     1754 as King's College


American colleges popularly believed to have been established by Royal Charter, but actually by some other type of grant:
  • Harvard College
    Harvard College
    Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

     1639 - By Act of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • Yale University
    Yale University
    Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

     1701 - as Collegiate School by Act of the General Assembly of Connecticut
  • Princeton University
    Princeton University
    Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

     1746 - as College of New Jersey by the General Assembly of the Province of New Jersey
  • Brown University
    Brown University
    Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

     1764 - as College of Rhode Island by Letters Patent from The Governor and General Assembly of the English Colony of Rhode Island
  • Rutgers University
    Rutgers University
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

     1766 - as Queen's College by Governor William Franklin
    William Franklin
    William Franklin was an American soldier and colonial administrator. He served as the last Colonial Governor of New Jersey. Franklin was a steadfast Loyalist throughout the American War of Independence, despite his father Benjamin Franklin's role as one of the most prominent Patriots during the...

     of New Jersey
  • Dartmouth College
    Dartmouth College
    Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

     1769 - by Letters Patent by King George III
    George III of the United Kingdom
    George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

     via the Governor of the province of New Hampshire. The distinction between the Letters Patent forming Dartmouth versus those documents founding William & Mary
    College of William and Mary
    The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

     or Kings College (Columbia
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

    ) is that the seal of the Province of New Hampshire appears on the Dartmouth document, while the Great Seal of the Realm
    Great Seal of the Realm
    The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom is a seal that is used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of important state documents...

     appears on the William & Mary
    College of William and Mary
    The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

      and King's
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

     documents.

See also

  • Koninklijk
    Koninklijk
    Koninklijk or Koninklijke is an honorary title given to certain companies and non-profit organizations in Belgium and the Netherlands, by the King or Queen in the respective country. It was first introduced by Louis Bonaparte in 1807, the King of the Netherlands at that time, who awarded the title...

    in the Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

     and Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • Congressional charter
    Congressional charter
    A congressional charter is a law passed by the United States Congress that states the mission, authority and activities of a group. Congress issued federal charters from 1791 until 1992 under Title 36 of the United States Code....

    , equivalent document in the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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