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Royal Ceremony and Parading on the Thames

Introduction
Arrivals and departures
Parading on the Thames
Royal celebration
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Parading on the Thames

The Thames was the ideal backdrop for royal parades and processions. Sovereigns travelled on the Thames, in elaborately decorated royal yachts, barges and shallops. They were were symbols of status and also of display with fluttering flags and banners, sounding trumpets and saluting canons.

King Richard and his Council go down the Thames in a barge to confer with the rebels

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King Richard and his Council go down the Thames in a barge to confer with the rebels
This aquatint with original wash colour is an illustration from Jean Froissart's 'Chronicles of England, France, Spain', 1805. This highly stylized view of the Thames, is closely related to French medieval imagery. It shows Richard II standing under an awning on a barge draped in carpets, flags and royal insignia. Surrounded by his retinue, he is preparing to go ashore in London to meet the peasants who had rebelled after the introduction of an unpopular tax in 1381.

Royal Visit to the 'Tiger' and Passage Down the Thames to Sheerness and Chatham, ‘The Tiger under way’, 17 August 1681

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Royal Visit to the 'Tiger' and Passage Down the Thames to Sheerness and Chatham, ‘The Tiger under way’, 17 August 1681
A sketch showing a royal visit on the Thames. The drawing is probably an eye-witness account of a special royal visit made by Charles II to visit the newly built 'Tiger' at Woolwich before she sailed under Lord Charles Berkeley for the Mediterranean. After dining on board, Charles continued with the yachts to Sheerness and Chatham and the following day returned up the river. The 'Isabel', flying a flowing pennant is shown on the left. The 'Tiger' with the royal standard and ensign dominates the centre of the sketch, and the 'Mary' is shown flying the ensign on the right. Ship’s boats are shown hovering around the 'Tiger', conveying people between the yachts.
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The 'Peregrine' and other yachts off Greenwich

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The 'Peregrine' and other yachts off Greenwich
A painting showing royal yachts in the Thames. The royal yacht 'Peregrine' is in the foreground with men shown working in the rigging. An elegant woman in a shallop prepares to board the ship. The yacht on the right has the royal coat of arms carved on her stern together with other ornate decoration. Deptford waterfront is in the front and was the base for the yachts regularly stationed off Greenwich for both royal and diplomatic duties. A naval ship on the left has the royal coat of arms on the stern, and flies the Royal Standard. The painting may date from the period when George I arrived in England, when he crossed from the Continent in the yacht 'Peregrine' on 18 September 1714, following the death of Queen Anne. George I had had fifteen yachts, also known as pleasure boats. The partly completed buildings of Greenwich Hospital can be seen in the background.

The Duke of Cumberland's Chinese yacht (1754).

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The Duke of Cumberland's Chinese yacht (1754).
A print showing a lavish design for a royal yacht. This mandarin yacht was built by the Duke of Cumberland on a lake with a cascade of water, near his lodge at Windsor. The design of the lavishly decorated yacht reflects the fashion for the Chinese style which swept Europe at this period. The yacht was never intended for use on the Thames but was an adaptation of a river craft, entirely built for entertaining and for decorative effect. William Augustus, 1721-65 the Duke of Cumberland, was the second son of George II. He was regarded as a butcher after the slaughter of the Jacobites at Culloden in 1746.
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A City Livery Company barge on the Thames at Richmond

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A City Livery Company barge on the Thames at Richmond
The nobility also travelled on the Thames in river craft manned by crew dressed in their own liveries. Barges were the fastest means of water transport between business centres and residences. Between the 13th and late 19th centuries most wealthy families and official organisations, such as the City merchants, possessed a shallop. These were fast oar-powered craft rowed by up to eight men and such craft could cover the 35 miles from Hampton Court to Greenwich in approximately four hours.
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Introduction
Arrivals and departures
Parading on the Thames
Royal celebration
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Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

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