Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle Getty

These unique and rarely-seen items help us understand more about the history and work of the Royal Family. 

The iconic Round Tower at Windsor Castle is home to hundreds of thousands of documents relating to the history of The Royal Family. 

As part of "Explore Your Archive Week", the Royal Family is sharing items from the Royal Archives as part of the UK-wide initiative. Nine documents in total have been shared with the public. 

View the full documents in this thread here:

Maps and Plans

Over the centuries, pioneers in the arts and sciences often demonstrated their new findings or inventions to their Monarch, in the hope of gaining the ultimate stamp of approval. The first document was thought to have been sent to King George III by General William Roy, outlining the origins of what we now know as the Ordnance Survey.


King George III was fascinated by scientific instruments and clocks. In this manuscript, he lists the correct sequence of operations for ‘mounting’ - or constructing - a watch.


On 24 May 1896, General Sir Dighton Probyn writes to Queen Victoria expressing his gratitude for his appointment as Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. Probyn would later become Comptroller in Queen Alexandra's Household and can be seen in this photograph, resplendent of beard, sitting next to Queen Alexandra.


Admission ticket for the Upper Gallery of Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of King George III and Queen Charlotte on 22 September 1761. The ticket is highly decorative and depicts the crowned King and Queen, under a vaulted dome in Westminster Abbey, while a multitude of ermine-robed dignitaries and spectators view the ceremony.


On 26 June 1920, a Garden Party was held at Buckingham Palace for recipients of the Victoria Cross. Although all remaining recipients were invited, only 323 were able to attend on the day. Both King George V and Queen Mary much enjoyed the occasion as can be seen by their respective diary entries.

In her diary entry on 26 June 1920, Queen Mary wrote :

“….We gave a garden party to all the V.Cs who were available & each V.C. brought 2 relatives. We watched the arrival of the V.Cs from our balcony, they paraded in Bird cage walk & marched here via the Mall, 323 of them. A fine moving sight. We then went into the garden where G. inspected them after which G. & I shook hands with them all - this took well over an hour. Had tea & walked about talking to many of the men & to their families. A very nice informal party.”


During his reign, George III, apparently much annoyed at the inaccuracies published by the newspapers in relation to royal events, appointed a Court Newsman. The Newsman’s role was to distribute to the morning papers the ‘Court Circular’ each day - a document supplied by the Court which recorded royal activities.

In 1918, the role was replaced by a full-time Press Secretary until 1931 when the post was abolished and press matters were dealt with by the Assistant Private Secretary. In 1944 the heavy workload led to the re-appointment of a Press Secretary, assisted by a Lady Clerk, and the Press Office at Buckingham Palace was established. Today, the Court Circular is published in selected British newspapers and on the Monarchy website, and it is written by an Information Officer based in the Private Secretary’s Office at Buckingham Palace. 


Queen Victoria was fluent in French and often peppered her diary entries with it. On 1st October 1835 she wrote of her fondness for her Aunt Louisa, saying, 'Elle est une Ange!' (she is an angel!).


There is no evidence in the archives of Queen Victoria saying the famous words ‘We are not amused’, but she did write in her journal on 8 September 1838 that she was "astonished and amused" after falling off her horse.

Your Archive

Since 1917 the Sovereign has sent messages of congratulations to those celebrating their 100th birthdays. On her 100th birthday in August 2000, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother received a card from her daughter, Queen Elizabeth.