Queen's Regulations

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The Queen's Regulations (first published in 1731 and known as the King's Regulations when the United Kingdom has a king) is a collection of orders and regulations in force in the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, and Commonwealth Forces, where the Queen is Head of State, forming guidance for officers of these armed services in all matters of discipline and personal conduct. Originally, a single set of regulations were pub separate editions of the Queen's Regulations for the Navy and the Army, and there is now one for each of the United Kingdom's armed forces.


The first issue of what became the Queen's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions was issued in 1731 as the Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea. Numerous further editions have appeared since then, and from the 19th century the title was altered to the Queen's [or King's] Regulations and Admiralty Instructions. Naval editions with this title were published by H.M. Stationery Office as recently as 1959[1] and 1964.[2]

In 1868, Chambers's Encyclopaedia noted that the Queen's Regulations for the Navy "in a great degree regulate matters of finance; whereas, in the army, financial matters are left to the War Office regulations".[3]

One historian of the British Empire has explained that:

The King cannot, by Articles of War, alter the provisions of an Act of Parliament. The "King's Regulations", therefore, are concerned mainly with the minor affairs of military life, such as the soldier's uniform and equipment, the etiquette of the barracks and the mess-room, the formalities required in communicating with the authorities, and so on.[4]

In a legal work of 1907, the "King's Regulations and Orders for the Army and Navy" were defined thus:

The Crown issues regulations and orders for the government, discipline, and general economy of the military and naval forces—regular, reserve, and volunteer—under the sign manual of the Sovereign.[5]

Under "King's Regulations and Orders for the Army", another authority states

The orders of the Sovereign affecting any fundamental matter of agreement between the Sovereign and a soldier are communicated by Royal warrants, which are signed by the Under-Secretary of State for War and reproduced in detail in Army Circulars. These circulars supplement and are incorporated in the Revised Army Regulations... They carry out and supplement the statutory provisions already existing".[6]

Prohibition of political discussions[edit]

It has been a matter of discipline since at least the 1844 edition of Wellington that,[7]

Officers, Non-commissioned Officers, and Soldiers are forbidden to institute, countenance, or attend Orange-Lodges, or any other Meetings whatever, for Party or Political Purposes, in Barracks, Quarters, Camp, or wheresoever held.

In 1889, Wolseley amended the prohibition to read,[8]

Officers, Non-commissioned Officers, and private soldiers are forbidden to institute, or take part in any meetings, demonstrations, or processions for party or political purposes, in barracks, quarters or camps, or their vicinity; and under no circumstances whatever will they do so in uniform.

Current editions[edit]

  • The Queen's Regulations for the Royal Navy (1997)
  • The Queen's Regulations for the Army (1975)[9]
  • The Queen's Regulations for the Royal Air Force (1999)

Frequent updates are issued.

Selected past editions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Queen's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions, 1959, title abstract at books.google.co.uk
  2. ^ Queen's Regulations and Admiralty instructions, 1964, title abstract at books.google.co.uk
  3. ^ Chambers's Encyclopaedia (1868) vol. 8, p. 62 online at books.google.co.uk, accessed 30 October 2010
  4. ^ Edward Jenks, The Government of the British Empire (reprinted 2009), p. 177 online at books.google.co.uk, accessed 30 October 2010
  5. ^ Sir Alexander Wood Renton, Maxwell Anderson Robertson, Sir Frederick Pollock, Encyclopædia of the laws of England with forms and precedents (1907), p. 614
  6. ^ Herbert B. Mason, Encyclopaedia of ships and shipping (1908), p. 329
  7. ^ Wellington, 1844: p.382
  8. ^ Wolseley, 1889: p.12, VI.9