A Messenger passport is a rare travel document. The UK Antiques Road Show has presented some time ago six British King’s & Queen’s Messenger passports. King Queen Messenger Passport

BEING A MESSENGER MAY BE A DANGEROUS JOB 

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 King’s Messenger. King Queen Messenger Passport

In 2015 there are 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 with 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 through .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.

King’s 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. King Queen Messenger Passport

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 King’s Messenger consisted to a considerable extent in 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. King Queen Messenger Passport

To find one Queen’s or King’s Messenger passport is already extremely rare but to see six of them on the table in this show is outstanding. There are two antique books on the messengers and I hold 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 the BBC to get in touch with the bearer of the documents. Unfortunately, they told me they do never reveal such information. Then I was once in contact with a reader who also holds such documents as well but sadly it all stopped at this initial contact. I am always happy with the plenty of readers’ emails I get and often, not always, I can acquire some nice documents.

 

Experiences as a Queen’s Messenger by Lieutenant Colonel Kimmins

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