The Holy Royal Arch is mentioned in the Constitutions of 1723 as an essential part of the third degree of Masonry, that of Master Mason. However, it is now conferred in separate bodies. These bodies, and their relation to the Symbolic Lodge, differ from country to country. In the USA, the degree is the culmination of those conferred in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, which is the fundamental body of the York Rite. A version of the Royal Arch degree is also conferred in the Scottish Rite Lodge of Perfection. There it is the thirteenth degree, and is the last step before the (14th) degree of Perfection.

One of the essential "Ecossais" degrees, this degree restores the Lost Word.