Royal Mail has a rich and varied history, characterised by a tradition of service and innovation spanning almost 500 years.
Henry VIII ordered the creation of the first national postal service, which began in 1516. Called 'The King’s Posts', it was devised by Brian Tuke and commanded all towns to have a fresh horse available for anyone carrying mail from the Tudor Court.
To find out more about Royal Mail Group's work with the British Postal Museum and Archive click on
British postal services helped to shape the modern world, and, ever since Charles I opened up his royal mail to the public in 1635, our business has been centre-stage in that story of transformation.
It's what sets us apart from other postal services. And it's also part of what makes us a cherished national organisation.
Slowly the early postal network developed over the next hundred years, growing to include private letters, albeit only those of the wealthy.
We're proud of the impact that our business has had on the lives of people in Britain and around the world – which is why we have developed an independent charitable trust to manage the heritage of all our brands (Royal Mail, Post Office® and Parcelforce Worldwide).
You can travel through nearly 500 years of our history by clicking on this link to our interactive timeline.
A great tradition of innovation and change is at the heart of what we do. We have always refreshed and renewed our approach as times have changed.
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