restricted access Words of Majesty: A Brief History of Royal Correspondence between England and Asia, 1600–1858


Diplomatic historians have downplayed the English Crown’s role in Asian diplomacy and over-emphasized the actions of merchants and military officers on the spot, but royal letters and associated materials suggest a different interpretation. The sending of such letters and the complexities of their creation and interpretation shows that English diplomacy in Asia was a collaboration between English Monarchs and the East India Company, and the mode of delivery of royal letters indicates that they played a crucial role in negotiations conducted by men on the spot.