The Torchwood Charter was the foundational document of the Torchwood Institute. It was a royal decree, issued by HM Queen Victoria on 31 December 1879. Amongst other things, it established that Torchwood would be directly financed by the Crown, rather than Her Majesty's Government. Despite the independence of this financial arrangement, it specified that Torchwood would be accountable to the Government. Specifically, Her Majesty declared in the document that Torchwood be "subject to such orders and regulations as Torchwood shall, from time to time, receive from us through one of our Principal Secretaries of state".
The Charter, along with other details about Torchwood, were kept behind a security lockout in the Home Office's computer systems. Nevertheless, Lois Habiba found evidence of the existence of the Charter by using Bridget Spears' superior security credentials. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One)