21 June 2012

Apologies, your Majesty.

The HMS Beagle Project really should have been more on the ball in congratulating Her Majesty the Queen on her 60 years on the throne.

Stage left: 'Oh for heaven's sake, has the infernal man found a link between the Jubilee and HMS Beagle?'

Yes. For not long after her launch in 1820, HMS Beagle took part in the parade of sail on the River Thames to mark the coronation of King George the IV, during which she had the distinction of being the first man o' war to sail under the old London Bridge. (Which, in itself must have been quite a feat of seamanship on the part of the officers and crew.)

Watching the parade of boats that braved the wretched weather to salute Her Majesty, I was deeply sorry that we haven't yet raised the necessary cash to start bolting wood together, far less have a Beagle reprising her 1820 role in 2012. Asking people for £5 million to build a boat at a time when the world economy is cratering is not an easy thing to do. But we aren't daunted. We are not here running this organization for its own sake, we want to get that boat built.
So, Prince Charles or Prince William, whichever of you ever next sits in Westminster Abbey with the coronation anthem Zadok the Priest (scroll to 1.30 to avoid the presenter's blithering and get to the music) ringing in his ears, here's a note for your secret Coronation party plan: there will be an HMS Beagle available for your parade of sail.

Count on it.


Anonymous said...

Beagle would have been in a commanding position in the river parade for the laying of the foundation stone of the New London Bridge In 1825 too, had not HMS Chanticleer been deemed unseaworthy for her next survey mission. The two were swapped, and it was on Chanticleer that the commander of the parade took up his position, while Beagle headed off to the south Atlantic.

Andreas Kyriacou said...

Oh please, keep the Beagle - scrap the HMS - a science and education project, don't let it serve as a propaganda banner for outdated forms of government.