Royal Charters

First Charter

The First Charter (1662)

Download the Charter: English | Latin
During the summer of 1661 the Fellows discussed the need to acquire a Royal Charter of incorporation, with the result that on 18 September of that year a petition to King Charles II for a royal grant of incorporation was read at a meeting of the Society. The Charter was swiftly granted, and passed the Great Seal on 15 July 1662. The Charter was read before the Society on 13 August of the same year.

The Second Charter (1663)

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The first Charter, however, did not give the Fellows all the privileges which they desired, and, after representation, a second Charter supplying the desired privileges and retaining all the clauses of incorporation contained in the first Charter passed the Great Seal on 22 April 1663. It was read before the Society on 13 May following. It is the second Charter which ensures the Society its privileges, and by which the Society has since been, and continues to be, governed. In this Charter, the King declares himself to be the Founder and Patron of the Society.

The Third Charter (1669)

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In 1669 a third Charter was given, granting to the Society lands in Chelsea in which were situated Chelsea College. The site could have provided a permanent home for the Society, but no funds were forthcoming for the necessary building, and the college remained vacant. In 1681, under Wren's presidency, the lands were sold back to the King as a site for his Royal Hospital. In addition, while confirming the powers given by the second Charter, the third makes some slight changes.

The Supplemental Charter (2012)

Download the Charter in English
The Supplemental Charter was approved by Her Majesty The Queen in Council on 10 July 2012 and received the royal Seal on 8 October 2012. It is the Society’s first Charter since the founding Charters of 1662, 1663 and 1669, and the first to be written in English rather than Latin. Retaining as much as possible of the feel of its predecessors, it updates some of the original governance arrangements to bring them into line with current thinking about best practice. In particular, it alters the rules on how the Society’s Council is constituted. It also amends some detailed administrative requirements that have become anomalous over the centuries.

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