A Royal Visit to the Fleet in the Thames Estuary, 1672

Image credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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During the summer of 1672 Charles II visited ships of the fleet that were refitting in the Thames following the Battle of Solebay in May of that year. This may record a visit that took place on 10 September when the king was on board the yacht 'Cleveland'. The yacht in the left foreground is probably the 'Anne', which was used by his brother James, Duke of York. She flies the red ensign and is decorated with the figure of a woman holding a crown in her right hand on her stern, together with putti holding a garland above her head. In port-quarter view is the 'Cleveland' with her mainsail hauled up and a man aloft hauling down the royal standard. This indicates that King Charles has transferred from the 'Cleveland' to hold a council-of-war on board the 'Prince', the principal ship in the painting, viewed at anchor with a number of other craft around her. These include French boats, France being allied with England in the Third Dutch War of 1672–1674.

National Maritime Museum



A Royal Visit to the Fleet in the Thames Estuary, 1672




oil on canvas


H 165.1 x W 330 cm

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