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The National Archives

History’s Unparalleled Alliance: the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Windsor, 9th May 1386

Two red seals are attached to the Treaty of Windsor by strips of parchment

Winston Churchill in a speech in the House of Commons in October 1943 famously described the unique and ancient friendship between England and Portugal as an alliance “without parallel in world history”.[1] It is 630 years since a treaty of …

British diplomacy and the independence of South America

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Foreign affairs and diplomacy, The National Archives

The independence of many South American countries from Spanish and Portuguese rule followed uprisings and wars from 1806 to the mid-1820s. British diplomacy in the independence of South America was, generally, about trade. Britain was an ally with Portugal and …

The Hertslets, a Family of Librarians

Map of Africa, 1894, Catalogue Ref: MFQ 1/166

There are various departments within the civil service which were, you could say, family affairs. The Foreign Office was undoubtedly the department in which this practice was the most spread. Appointments to the diplomatic service were often based upon recommendations and who …

Sounds familiar? Prime Minister’s Office records and Cabinet Papers from 1985-86

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Finance and economics, The National Archives
Margaret and Denis Thatcher on a visit to Northern Ireland PREM 19/1547

Today's release of Prime Minister’s Office records and Cabinet Papers from 1985-1986 covers the mid-point of the Thatcher premiership. If this period is beyond your living memory, you might be tempted to think that the files would reflect the Thatcher revolution …

A private public record office: Tony Benn as a political diarist

On Wednesday, 1 December 1976, the Cabinet met to discuss the severe economic crisis confronting the UK and the terms of the rescue package then being negotiated from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It was an unusual meeting, one of …