Kings and Queens Messenger Passports
BEING A MESSENGER MAY BE A DANGEROUS JOB Kings Queens Messenger Passports
Although modern diplomatic relationships between nations are delicate enough at any time, they are doubly so in the time of war, and should, for example, a ciphered letter be’ decoded by a nation to whom it was not addressed, relations between the countries might be disrupted and more fagots heaped on the fires of war. Consequently, whenever the Foreign Office wishes to send valuable and confidential State documents to an embassy or legation in another country, they are sent in “the diplomatic bag” in the personal charge of a Messenger. Kings Queens Messenger Passports
In 2015 there were 16 Messengers on duty for the Queen and while, when King Charles II. first formed the corps, they had to be proficient in both horsemanship and the pistol; it is now sufficient for them to be expert shots. In those early days, they had to defend the King’s dispatches with sword and pistol, perhaps while riding in a rocking post-chaise. A brigand-infested mountain pass. It was a dangerous job. The last Royal courier to lose his life went to look at his horses outside an Austrian inn during the Napoleonic wars and was never seen again.
Messengers carry a badge, which consists of the Royal monogram with a silver greyhound as a pendant. King Charles II. was an exile in Holland when he founded the corps and selected two English and two Dutch officials to carry his dispatches.
When they set out on their first journey, the King Is reputed to have been at breakfast, and, pulling the silver porringer to him, he is said to have broken off the four greyhounds with which it was ornamented, giving one to each of his messengers as identification and passport. In former times the occupation of Messenger consisted to a considerable extent of serving the warrants issued by the Secretary of State for the apprehension of persons accused of high treason and other grave offenses against the State. Nowadays, however, they are principally employed in foreign service. Kings Queens Messenger Passports
Finding one Queen’s or King’s Messenger passport is already extremely rare, but seeing six of them on the table in this show is outstanding.
There are two antique books on the messengers, and I have both.
The History of the King’s Messengers, V. Wheeler-Holohan, Grayson & Grayson, 1935 and King’s Messenger 1918-1940, Memoirs of a Silver Greyhound, Herbert Jenkins, 1941.
I contacted BBC to get in touch with the bearer of the documents. Unfortunately, they told me they never revealed such information. Then I was once in contact with a reader who also holds such documents, but sadly, it all stopped at the initial contact. I am always happy with the plenty of readers’ emails I get, and often, not always, I can acquire some excellent documents. Kings Queens Messenger Passports