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Royal Visits to the Dockyard | King Charles III Coronation

05 May 2023

Today marks the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III. With His Royal Highness The former Prince of Wales being Patron of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, we are reflecting on Royal visits to the Dockyard in recent years.

King Charles III began his association with Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust on a visit to open the new Royal Dockyard Library in 2006. He then became Patron to the No.1 Smithery project in 2007 during its initial development. Following a visit to officially open No.1 Smithery, his patronage was extended to the wider work of the Trust in April 2013.

King Charles III last visited the Dockyard in February 2022. His visit was made primarily to show his support in advance of our 2022 visitor season opening. He was accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Lady Colgrain and met with our Chairman Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE DL and Richard Morsley, Chief Executive, as well as The Mayor of Medway Councillor Jan Aldous, Mayor of Medway; Neil Davies, Chief Executive, Medway Council; and Kelly Tolhurst, Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood.

He took a tour of the Command of the Oceans galleries and visited No.1 Smithery to view our 2022 temporary exhibition Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744. The final stop for the historic visit was to our historic warships: HMS GANNET, HM Submarine OCELOT and HMS  CAVALIER.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales with Admiral Sir Trevor Soar looking through the rigging at HMS Victory model.

Prior to this in July 2013, the then Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Dockyard for the first time, touring No. 1 Smithery, the Hearts of Oak Exhibition and the timbers of HMS NAMUR. They met young people aged 13 to 25 who had been supported by The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme, which was at the Dockyard.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip visited the Historic Dockyard in 1984 in the October after the closure of the Dockyard. They met the Lord Lieutenant and the Chairman of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust who explained plans for the Historic Dockyard and pointed out buildings of historic interest.

Queen Elizabeth II visited again in 1994 to see the changes in the last 10 years, much of her visit focused on the Ropery and the Sail and Colour Loft.

Prince Philip visited the Dockyard in November 1977. Seen here outside the front door of Commissioner’s House.

Further back in history, in April 1942 His Majesty King George VI visited the Dockyard. He was on a ‘secret’ wartime morale boosting trip to visit naval personnel based in the Medway Towns.

That is just a snapshot of many royal visits to take place at the Dockyard. We look forward to celebrating the King’s Coronation this weekend and send thanks to the Royal family for their continued support of the Historic Dockyard throughout history.

Do you have any memories of any recent Royal visits? We would love to hear from you. Either comment on social media or get in touch via info@chdt.org.uk

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