No River Boats for the Royals – they were ferried on the Thames in luxurious style thanks to this wonderfully decorative barge
The state barge was built for Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was the eldest son of George II and father of George III. She is nearly 20 metres long and launched in 1732 on the south bank of the Thames opposite Whitehall and was powered by 21 oarsman – you can still see the original oars today.
On her first journey was accompanied by a two other barges – one just to provide musical entertainment.
After Frederick’s death in 1751, she was used by successive monarchs. Her last appearance afloat was in 1849, when Prince Albert and two of his children attended the opening of the Coal Exchange.
Prince Frederick’s barge is notable for her ornate carvings, gilded with 24-carat gold leaf. She was designed by the architect and painter William Kent and built by John Hall.