On 2 September 2020 we became FCDO Services. Read more about our name change.
The Queen’s Messengers deliver classified material effectively and securely across the globe
The Queen’s Messenger Service is one of the most experienced and respected courier services in the world, dating back over 800 years. It is responsible for the secure and effective delivery of the UK’s classified diplomatic material internationally.
Queen’s Messengers accompany our diplomatic bags throughout their journey, in order to prevent any attempts to x-ray, examine or otherwise interfere with the bags under their charge. Each Queen’s Messenger receives dedicated support from the UK and overseas to ensure the integrity of our Diplomatic Bag Service.
The Queen’s Messengers sit within, and work closely with, the Logistics team. They travel the globe by air, land and occasionally sea in all temperatures and climates, collectively travelling millions of miles each year. They all have extensive experience in public service, and have a detailed knowledge of the Vienna Convention of 1961. This international treaty governs the movement of diplomatic material by all nations.
The role of the Queen’s Messenger dates back over 800 years, and has a long and distinguished history. First mentioned in 1199 during the reign of King John, these couriers originally carried only written information on behalf of the monarch. They allowed the monarch to send sensitive or secret information securely. Today, they are one of the oldest diplomatic courier services in the world.
Celebrating the Queen’s Messengers
In 2017, current and retired Messengers came together, with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, to recognise the historic dedication of the Queen’s Messenger Service. Read about our event celebrating the heritage of the Queen’s Messengers.
The silver greyhound has been the Corp’s historical emblem, with several theories about how this came into existence. The most popular theory is that King Charles II introduced the emblem whilst in exile in the Netherlands. In order to prove the identity of four of his Messengers to supporters in England he broke off the four silver greyhounds decorating his dish. On his accession, he decreed that the greyhound would be the emblem for his Messengers. Another theory is that it comes from the greyhound featured in King Henry VII’s coat of arms.
Queen’s Messengers have a Badge of Office, consisting of the Sovereign’s royal Cypher with a silver greyhound suspended below. Today they regularly wear the official tie depicting silver greyhounds on a blue background.