Prince Philip reviews Royal Yacht Squadron fleet
by Philip Reynolds
The sun shone on Cowes as the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, conducted a Fleet Review as part of the Royal Yacht Squadron’s bicentenary celebrations.
The Duke, who is Admiral of the RYS, was accompanied by the Flag Officers of the squadron and other distinguished guests at the mouth of the Medina on the Isle of Wight as he surveyed 200 craft of all shapes and sizes belonging to members of the RYS, and including the Royal Navy frigate HMS Northumberland.
The inaugural meeting of the RYS took place on June 1st 1815 in the Thatched Tavern, St James’s, London. It was founded by “42 gentlemen interested in using sailing boats for recreation”. The original members decided to meet in London and Cowes twice a year. The Yacht Club, as it was first called, was soon organising racing in Cowes and when it attracted royal patronage and George IV became a member, it was renamed the Royal Yacht Club. The club has had a long association with the Royal Navy and members are allowed to fly the White Ensign.
The Fleet Review, though a private event, was watched by members of the public from vantage points on the Parade and the Green. They would have been thankful that after some early morning rain the weather changed for the better.
Proceedings culminated with a service at Holy Trinity Church, adjacent to the RYS, and a Beating Retreat conducted by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood on the Parade at Cowes at 7.15pm, the salute being taken by the Duke.
Today’s celebration is just one of a varied programme of events organised by the RYS, both on and off the water, taking place this year.
Fellow members of the royal family joined Prince Philip, who turns 94 next week, including The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Prince Michael of Kent. Visiting royalty included HM King Harald of Norway, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, TM King Constantine II of Greece and Queen Anne-Marie, HM King Juan Carlos of Spain and HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark.
Boat International – with the Royal Yacht Squadron and Ben Ainslie Racing – have announced an invitational fundraising dinner and race in aid of the 1851 Trust during the RYS' bicentenary year. The gala dinner and fundraising auction will be followed by a race the next day in the Solent, organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron.