Hatley Castle was constructed in 1908 by James Dunsmuir, who was the Lieutenant Governor and Premier of BC in the early 1900s. The castle was purchased by the Government of Canada in 1940 with the thought of providing a home for King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth during WW II. After it was decided that King George VI should remain in England to boost morale, the Government chose to use the castle as a location to train reserve officers for WW II. The college remained a military college until 1995, when the Government decided to close it as a cost saving measure.
With the closing of the military college, the Government of British Columbia granted Royal Roads University a license to open as a public university.