Formally known as Letters Patent, those signed by the monarch - Royal Letters Patent - are uncommon and this one also has the Great Seal attached to it, reinforcing its importance and legitimacy at a time of upheaval. It is essential in the story of the civil war in the city and county, and is especially meaningful for Worcester, which sees itself as ‘the faithful city’, loyal to the king in the conflict. It is in the characteristic legal hand of the period, written by or under the supervision of Sir Richard Willys, the king’s secretary, but the official signature of the king himself is visible at the top of the document.
The Commission appointed Edward, Lord Dudley, Thomas, Lord Coventry, and Sir Thomas Littelton with 23 others, including Henry Townsend whose writings are an essential source for the civil war in Worcester. The commission of array was an obsolete summons to arms to serve the king, deployed in the middle ages but fallen into disuse until Charles I revived it in 1642.