Royal Charter


Royal Charter

A Royal Charter is a charter granted by the Sovereign on the advice of the privy council to legitimize an incorporated body, such as a city, company, university or such. A Royal Charter is a kind of letters patent. In medieval Europe, cities were the only place where it was legal to conduct commerce, and Royal Charters were the only way to establish a city. The year a city was chartered is considered the year the city was "founded", irrespective of whether there was settlement there before. A Royal Charter can also create or give special status to an incorporated body. It is an exercise of the Royal Prerogative.

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 of a limited company are now available. Among the historic bodies formed by Royal Charter were the British East India Company, the Hudson's Bay Company, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), the British South Africa Company and the American colonies.

Belgium

The royal decree is the equivalent in Belgium 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. [ [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0141-8211(197903)14%3A1%3C25%3ANHTEIB%3E2.0.CO%3B2-N Non-University Higher Technical Education in Belgium] Gilbert Van Vaek and Henk Van Daele]

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 [ [http://www.hridir.org/countries/belgium/index.htm Gilbert Van Vaek and Henk Van Daele] ]
* Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten, 1938 [ [http://www.kcgeschiedenis.be/eng/histoire/histoire.html Belgium Royal Historical Commission] ]
* International Institute for Research and Education, 1982
* Irish International University, 1999 [ [http://www.iiuedu.ie/welcome.html The Irish International University] ]

Canada

A Royal Charter is granted by Order-in-Council, either creating an incorporated body, or giving an existent one special status. [ [http://www.privy-council.org.uk/output/page26.asp Privy Council Office: Royal Charter] ] This is an exercise of the Royal Prerogative, 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. 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 issue of a Royal Charter. [ [http://www.privy-council.org.uk/output/page26.asp Privy Council: 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; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1670 by King Charles II [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson%27s_Bay_Company#Rent_obligation_under_Charter]
* The Royal Commonwealth Society; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1882 by Queen Victoria [ [http://www.rcs.ca/content/view/395/ The Royal Commonwealth Society: Values of the Royal Commonwealth Society] ]
* The Royal Society of 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 [ [http://new-brunswick.net/Saint_John/stories/canada.html New Brunswick; reprint of: Kurley, Daniel; "Times Globe": Elusive Oak; June 11, 1998] ]
* The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1903 by King Edward VII [ [http://www.rasc.ca/history/ Royal Astronomical Society of Canada: Going Royal: A History of Public Service] ]
* Scouts Canada; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1912 by King George V [ [http://scoutdocs.ca/Scouts_Canada_Act/Royal_Charter.php ScoutDocs: Scouts Canada Act: Royal Charter of The Boy Scouts Association] ]
* The Royal Academy of Dance; founded in 1920 as the Association of Teachers of Operatic Dancing; reconstituted by a Royal Charter issued in 1936 by King George V [ [http://www.radcanada.org/aboutus.htm Royal Academy of Dance Canada: About us] ]
* 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 [ [http://www.rcmusic.ca/ContentPage.aspx?name=RCM_History Royal Conservatory of Music: The RCM: History of The Royal Conservatory of Music] ]
* The Royal Winnipeg Ballet; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1953 by Queen Elizabeth II [ [http://www.canadacouncil.ca/development/danceontour/companies/qr127248899853281250.htm Canada Council for the Arts: Royal Winnipeg Ballet] ]
* The Royal Life Saving Society of Canada; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1960 by Queen Elizabeth II [ [http://www.lifesavingsociety.sk.ca/pdf/constitution-approved-2005.pdf The Royal Life Saving Society of Canada Saskatchewan Branch, Inc.; Constitution] ]
* 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 [ [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=U1ARTU0003051 The Canadian Encyclopedia: Royal Hamilton College of Music] ]
* 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 [ [http://www.annapolisbasin.com/sys-tmpl/homepage/ Royal Western Nova Scotia Yacht Club: Annapolis Basin] ]

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; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1785 by King George III [ [http://www.cityofsaintjohn.com/services_history.cfm Saint John: History Public Records and Archives] ]
* Vancouver
* Winnipeg
* Montreal [ [http://www.canadascities.ca/caoreport_062000_1.htm#3 "Canada's Cities: Unleash our Potential"] ]
* Nova Scotia; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1621 by King James I [ [http://www.canada4life.ca/provinces.php?prov=9 Canada4Life; Nova Scotia] ]

Universities and colleges

A number of Canadian universities and colleges were founded under Royal Charter.

* The University of King's College; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1802 by King George III
* McGill University; founded as the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning by a Royal Charter issued in 1821 by King King George IV; reconstituted by a Royal Charter issued in 1852 by Queen Victoria [ [http://www.mcgill.ca/secretariat/charter-statutes/royal/ McGill University: Admin and governance: Secretariat: University Charter and Statutes: The Royal Charter of McGill University] ]
* The University of Toronto; founded as King's College by a Royal Proclamation issued in 1827 by King George IV [ [http://www.trinity.utoronto.ca/About_Trinity/History/ Trinity College: About Trinity: History] ]
* Upper Canada College; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1829 by King George IV
* Queen's University; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1841 by Queen Victoria [ [http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/RCharter.html Queen's University: Queen's University Royal Charter] ]
* "Université Laval"; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1852 by Queen Victoria [ [http://www.republiquelibre.org/cousture/BAS2.HTM Le Bas Canada 1763-1867] ]
* The University of Trinity College 1852:
* Bishop's University; founded by a Royal Charter issued in 1853 by Queen Victoria [Canada Post: Canada Post confers stamp on Bishop's University; January 20, 2003]
* The University of Essex; founded by Royal Charter issued in 1965 by Queen Elizabeth II.
* In 1966, Bradford Institute of Technology was granted a Royal Charter to become the University of Bradford and the 40th university to be created in Britain.
* The University of Manchester; founded by Royal Charter issued in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Hong Kong

Before 1997, a number of organizations had the Royal name attached to them:

* Royal Hong Kong Police Force - now Hong Kong Police Force
* Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club - now Hong Kong Jockey Club
* Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club - name remains unchanged after 1997
* Royal Observatory, Hong Kong - now Hong Kong Observatory
* Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force - now Government Flying ServiceRoyal Hong Kong Golf Club - now Hong Kong Golf Club

Ireland

A number of Irish institutions still have a "Royal" prefix, even though the country has been a republic since 1949.

outh Africa

The University of South Africa received a Royal Charter in 1877.

United Kingdom

Among the 750 or so organizations with Royal Charters are cities; the BBC; theatres such as the Royal Opera House and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; Livery Companies; Britain's older universities; professional institutions and charities. [http://www.privy-council.org.uk/output/Page44.asp Privy Council Office - Chartered Bodies] ]

A Royal Charter is the manner in which a British town is raised to the rank of city. Most recently Inverness, Brighton & Hove and Wolverhampton were given their charters to celebrate the millennium, and Preston, Stirling, Newport, Lisburn and Newry to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2002.

Some of the older 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 instead of by Royal Charter, while some other universities operate under Acts of Parliament.

The BBC 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. For example, the six accountancy institutes which make up the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies 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 purport to hold Royal Charters, they hold instead either Letters Patent from the monarch, or another type of grant from a local authority such as a legislature.

Letters Patent from King William III and Queen Mary II:
* The College of William & Mary 1693

Letters Patent from King George II:
* Columbia University 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 1639 - By Act of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
* Yale University 1701 - as Collegiate School by Act of the General Assembly of Connecticut
* Princeton University 1746 - as College of New Jersey by the General Assembly of the Province of New Jersey
* Brown University 1764 - as College of Rhode Island by Letters Patent from The Governor and General Assembly of the English Colony of Rhode Island
* Rutgers University 1766 - as Queen's College by Governor William Franklin of New Jersey
* Dartmouth College 1769 - by Letters Patent by King George III via the Governor of the province of New Hampshire. The distinction between the Letters Patent forming Dartmouth versus those documents founding William & Mary or Kings College (Columbia) is that the seal of the Province of New Hampshire appears on the Dartmouth document, while the Great Seal of England appears on the William & Mary document.

External links

* [http://www.privy-council.org.uk/output/page26.asp Privy Council website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/policies/charter/ Royal Charter of the BBC]
* [http://www.humanities.org.au/About/Charter.htm Royal Charter of the Australian Academy of the Humanities]
* [http://www.ppd.bham.ac.uk/policy/charter/charter.htm Charter of the University of Birmingham]
* [http://www.sec.state.ri.us/library/image/ri_royal_charter_full_edited.jpg/view?searchterm=royal%20charter Royal Charter of Rhode Island (1663)]

Footnotes


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