A Royal Charter (such as " Royal Articles") is granted by the British sovereign on the advice of the Privy Council of a corporation and gives it special status. The history dates back to the 13th century. Royal Charters were used, for example, to award the status of settlements of towns and cities. New Charters are occasionally still awarded to cities, but usually they remain public interest bodies as subject eg charities, holding a leading position in the relevant field and be able to demonstrate stability and durability. Many of the older universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are those entities.
There are more than 900 bodies of which Royal Charter was granted. The incorporation by Royal Charter means that a part of the control of internal affairs to the Privy Council passes over. Changes in the charter are possible only with the consent of the sovereign, and changes in the articles of corporation subject to the approval of the Council. For the internal affairs of corporations, this means a considerable degree of mutual government regulation in the interest of the public interest.