The RAF Museum in London has been granted The Royal Charter to mark half a century since it opened.
The charter was formally unveiled in the museum’s newly refurbished entrance to one of its hangars at a ceremony earlier this week.
It was granted to the museum by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, ‘in recognition of its objectives to educate and inform the public and members of the RAF about the history and traditions of the Royal Air Force,’ a statement said.
The Queen officially opened the museum in Hendon, north London, on 15 November 1972, after ten years of planning by the Air Force Board.
On its opening, Hendon’s hangars housed some 36 aircraft. Over the following decades, some 130 aircraft have been acquired by the institution. It is now one of the most visited history museums in Britain.
The charter was unveiled by Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Barnet, Martin Russell, and the RAF Museum Chair, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, as well as various dignitaries associated with the museum.
‘All our team – trustees, staff, and volunteers – are incredibly grateful for this recognition,’ said Maggie Appleton, Chief Executive Officer of the RAF Museum.
‘We are inspired even further to fulfil our dual role as a national museum and community resource and partner, collecting and sharing globally significant stories for and with everyone,’ she added.
As a formal grant issued by a monarch, a Royal Charter confers an independent legal personality on an organisation and defines its objectives, constitution, and powers to govern its own affairs. Only pre-eminent leaders in their field are granted this honour, applications for which take the form of a petition to The Sovereign.
The museum’s own petition included signatures from five previous RAF Chiefs of Air Staff, and the museum’s former Royal Patron, His Late Royal Highness Prince Philip.
With the announcement, the RAF Museum becomes the 1,038th organisation to receive the charter. Other well-known chartered bodies include the BBC, the British Red Cross, and the Honourable Company of Air Pilots.