Unicorns, Sailing, Illegitimate Children

Remember Charles II of England, AKA the Merry Monarch regarded for having a hedonistic court after that straight-laced decade of rule by Cromwell and the Puritans? Well, once he returned to England following his exile after the Cromwell-era, some of his neighbors presented him with his very own sailing boat, which he used for both recreation and competition.

The vessel, built at a cost of £1,300 by the Dutch East India Company, was a 50-foot miniature man-of-war. A crew of 30 was required so perhaps a few of Charles’ illegitimate children (he admitted to have sired at least 12 through mistresses) were taught to sheet in and trim. The original ship, and first royal yacht, was built in Holland in 1660 and deemed Royal Yacht Mary.

The vessel carried the royal coat of arms. The lion represents England. The unicorn represents Scotland. This arrangement was incorporated into the coat in 1603 following the accession of James I (VI of Scotland). Back in medieval times the unicorn was considered a dangerous beast.

Photo found at www.maritime-models.co.uk

Photo found at www.maritime-models.co.uk

Photo from www.shipsofscale.com

Photo from www.shipsofscale.com