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MT's official files as Prime Minister, 1979-90

MT's official files as PM can be read on this site as they are released, in full and free to all - the confidential files originally stored at No.10, the core record of her premiership.

The files have been copied at the British National Archives (TNA) at Kew in London and can be downloaded precisely as they appear in the reading room.

We are doing something more to help people make sense of this mass of information. The files are subject-based, logically enough, but that system makes it difficult to reconstruct the flow of paper across the Prime Minister’s desk at any point in time, depriving us of a sense of context and cross-winds, some of them overwhelming.

To combat this effect we are uploading a large selection of the most important documents from these files – thousands in total - to our powerful site database. You can search and sort by date, subject and other parameters, getting as close as anyone can now get to reconstructing the Prime Minister’s daily "Red Boxes", the rich diet of foreign and domestic policy papers submitted to her by the No.10 Private Office.

List and links to the PM’s files

Below are links to the downloadable files in numerical order. The subject terms are those used in the original filing system.

An average file has around 200 pages.

You can read here an account of how filing worked at No.10, and the system for archiving MT’s Prime Ministerial papers, both of which had their quirks.

Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Private Office files, 1979-1989

1979-89: Chancellor’s Private Office files [links to hundreds of digitised files from the Chancellorships of Sir Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson]

Engagement Diaries

An alternative way through the material is to read MT’s engagement diaries, jumping day to day.

The engagement diaries link directly to relevant documents in the site database, so this is a good way to recover the perspective from the Red Box.

File name Titlesort descending Begins Ends Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/2472 Royal Family (Career of Prince Andrew, Duke of York) Begins: 1979 May 21 Ends: 1987 Oct 30 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/2468 Royal Family (Career of the Duke of Kent: possibility of his taking on an unpaid non-executive board appointment in the public sector) Begins: 1979 May 23 Ends: 1987 Apr 9 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/899 Royal family (Civil List) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jun 7 Ends: 1982 Mar 23 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Unknown
PREM19/897 Royal family (Duchy of Cornwall Management Bill) Begins: 1981 Jun 22 Ends: 1982 Jun 24 Date of release: 2014 Feb 14 File classification: Confidential Pages: 29
PREM19/355 Royal Family (Duke of Windsor’s papers: allegations by Duc de Grantmesnil that they were stolen by secret agents) Begins: 1979 May 10 Ends: 1980 Jun 18 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Unknown
PREM19/583 Royal family (Form of memorial to Lord Mountbatten; erection of a statue) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Sep 19 Ends: 1981 May 29 Date of release: Date of release: Closed till 2022 File classification: Unknown
PREM19/584 Royal family (Future career of Prince of Wales) Begins: 1979 May 31 Ends: 1981 Dec 21 Date of release: Date of release: Closed till 2022 File classification: Unknown
PREM19/2471 Royal Family (Marriage of the Earl of St Andrews, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent) Begins: 1986 Dec 5 Ends: 1986 Dec 8 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/2832 Royal Family (Ownership of the Royal Palaces: Historic Royal Palaces Agency) Begins: 1987 Nov 26 Ends: 1989 Dec 6 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/898 Royal family (Prime Minister's Audiences with the Queen) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 8 Ends: 1982 Feb 9 Date of release: 2013 Dec 6 Any docs withheld? 147 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 105
PREM19/1125 Royal family (Prince of Wales' article, 'Help for Self-Help', for publication in The Economist) Begins: 1983 Mar 11 Ends: 1983 Mar 18 Date of release: Date of release: Closed until 2024-01-01 File classification: Unknown
PREM19/2469 Royal Family (Procedures for members of the Royal Family taking up jobs and other commercial appointments) Begins: 1988 Dec 7 Ends: 1988 Dec 7 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/2470 Royal Family (Proposals relating to the papers concerning the Abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936) Begins: 1985 Feb 21 Ends: 1988 Mar 24 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/1617 Royal Family (Queen's visit to army units in Germany, May 1984: possible threat from Irish terrorism) Begins: 1984 May 16 Ends: 1984 May 21 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 5
PREM19/1367 Royal family (Relations between the media and members of the Royal Family; possible legal measures to prevent harassment) Begins: 1984 Jan 3 Ends: 1984 Jan 18 Date of release: Date of release: Retained File classification: Retained

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