Wednesday, August 21, 2013
A Royal Tea Cruise
The tireless Malcolm Knight, a great promoter of traditional rowing, reports on a special event that took place on the River Thames on a hot day last July. HTBS has previously written about Malcolm in our report on the Tudor Pull.
After six months, the plans were finally in place for the most important event so far in the life of the Queen’s Row Barge Gloriana.
On 9 July, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the company of the Duke and Duchess of Wessex, the Duke of York, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent boarded QRB Gloriana at Albert Bridge, Home Park, Windsor, to be rowed by eighteen of the Royal Watermen under the helm of HM Barge Master Paul Ludwig for an afternoon tea cruise to celebrate the 60 years since her Coronation.
The flotilla of four invited craft, under the control of Malcolm Knight aboard the Gentleman’s launch Verity, moved off upstream to the surprise and delight of other boats on the river. The QRB went up the weir stream to Eton College where invited members of staff and their families cheered the spectacle.
Whilst the Watermen took a well-earned breather, tea was provided to the Royal guests by the Waterside Inn after which the QRB turned and returned downstream to moor below Victoria Bridge where the Royal party went ashore.
covered by HTBS. On the far right is Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the wife of Prince Edward.
A ‘little piece of history’ was made as it is believed that this was the first time in nearly 200 years that a reigning monarch had been rowed in an 18-oared Royal barge by the Royal Watermen – a memorable day for all of us involved and one that has confirmed Gloriana as The Queen’s Row Barge.