December 2013


"(1) copies of any formal or informal agreements or memoranda of understanding or similar documents relating to the transfer of records to or from the Royal Archives.

(2) copies of any policies, procedures, instructions or similar documents relating to the transfer of records to or from the Royal Archives.

(3) copies of any lists, tables, indices or similar records listing files or other material transferred from the National Archives to the Royal Archives.

I am interested in understanding why the National Archives has transferred files to the Royal Archives at Windsor and what arrangements exist to decide which types of files get transferred. In line with your duty to 'advise and assist' under s16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I would be very grateful if you alert me to the existence of any other documents that would help me to understand this subject."




There are no formal or informal agreements or policies concerning the transfer of records between The National Archives and The Royal Archives specifically.  The National Archives liaises closely with The Royal Archives and provides advice and support for its archival operations generally, based on the Historical Manuscripts Commission warrant.  Please follow the link below.  However, this relationship does not include specific 'agreements, procedures or instructions' about transfers of records from The National Archives to The Royal Archives.

Public records selected for permanent preservation under the Public Records Act may transfer between The National Archives and places of deposit appointed by the Lord Chancellor under the terms of sections 4(1) and 4(3) of the Act.  However, The Royal Archives is not appointed as a Place of Deposit, and we therefore have no record that any material has transferred to The Royal Archives on that basis.

Section 3(6) of the Public Records Act makes it permissible for public records that have not been selected for permanent preservation at The National Archives or a place of deposit to be presented by a department to a bona fide archive as an alternative to destruction.  Such records cease to be public records on transfer.  Decisions in relation to this procedure are guided by the Records Collection Policy.  Please use the following link and refer to paragraph 4.2.

In these circumstances records pass from the relevant department to the archive under The National Archives' supervision.  Several groups of records have been offered to The Royal Archives under section 3(6).
Our online catalogue, Discovery, notes that records of the Keeper of the Privy Purse (ref: PP2 and PP3) were transferred from the Public Record Office (as it then was) to The Royal Archives in May 1967.  This was reported in the 9th Annual Report of the Keeper of Public Records (1967) (ref: PRO 43/130).  The basis on which the transfer was made is not given; however, these records were not considered to be public records and therefore transfer to The Royal Archives was permissible and was not subject to the specific provisions of the Public Records Act noted above. 

A search on Discovery provides OBS 1/1049/20 as containing obsolete lists, indexes and miscellaneous summaries and reports associated with public record office holdings. This contains the documentation for PP2 and PP3.  This is an open document and is available to view at The National Archives.  It is therefore exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by the provision at section 21 as the information is accessible by other means.

We are not aware of any other direct transfers of records from the Public Record Office/The National Archives to The Royal Archives.  Please note the information provided to you here is based on the best information we can establish from the records that we hold here at The National Archives, based on our role which is to oversee the process of presentations under section 3(6) of the Public Records Act 1958.

Please see the attached table relating to presentations and other transfers as described above.

F0036857 The National Archives' work with other archives (XLS, 0.03Mb)

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