The Netherlands offshore patrol vessel Holland has used her first visit to London to deliver a rather unusual cargo. The warship, which is still undergoing builder’s sea trials, arrived at Greenwich on 16 March, bringing with her a stern-piece from the 17th century ship Royal Charles.

The British 80-gun first rate ship of the line was captured during the Second Anglo-Dutch war by the revered Dutch Admiral De Ruyter with his surprise raid on the Medway in 1667. With the ship scrapped in 1673, the remnant of his prize has been loaned by the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

The carving, a coat-of-arms featuring a lion and unicorn, will take pride of place in the NMMs ‘Royal River: Power, Pageantry & the Thames’ exhibition as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

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