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The Edinburghs

Ahoy! The Duchess of Edinburgh helps retire HM The Queen Lifeboat at Windsor Castle

The Duchess of Edinburgh joined the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as another reminder of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign came to an end at Windsor Castle. The Duchess oversaw the retirement and handover of the lifeboat, RNLB Her Majesty The Queen, and the end of her operational duty.

The Mersey class all-weather lifeboat was named on 16 July 1993 by Her Late Majesty at Ramsgate Lifeboat Station. Throughout its 30 years of service, it saved 33 lives and helped 175 people, in addition to spending 3,057 crew hours at sea and serving a total of 13 lifeboat stations during its 201 launches. The boat last operated from Post St Mary, Isle of Man to Fleetwood, Lancashire on 6 May 2023, the same day as the Coronation of King Charles III.

The Duchess joined the RNLI as the retired lifeboat was stationed outside the King George IV Gateway at Windsor Castle. King George IV was the charity’s first patron. The gateway is considered a ceremonial entrance to the castle and leads to the Long Walk.

During the engagement, RNLI and Historic Dockyard Chatham representatives joined the Duchess to sign the lifeboat’s logbook marking the official retirement of its operational duty. Volunteers who looked after the boat during its service and those who will care for her at her new home of The Historic Dockyard Chatham were recognised for their efforts during the occasion.

RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie said Windsor Castle is a ‘spectacular backdrop’ to recognise volunteers and commemorate the 70 years of service by Her Late Majesty. He added that ahead of the Institution’s 200th anniversary next year, it’s a reminder of royal heritage and the boat’s service to saving lives at sea.

The RNLI is the largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and the Republic of Ireland. Last year in 2022, The Duke of Kent named Wells-next-the-Sea’s new Shannon class lifeboat, Duke of Edinburgh to commemorate the life of Prince Philip and his long time commitment to maritime services.

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About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.