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I have the impression that, the flag on this magnificent painting of J.Cleveley the Elder, it may be not the one used at that time on Royal Caroline.


The royal yacht could not have the civil navy ensign flag, since it belonged to the Royal Navy. I guess that the correct flag would have been the the White Ensign/St George's Ensign, of the Royal Navy.


Is that so?


Edited by MESSIS
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At the time of the Royal Caroline the Red Ensign represented the senior squadron of the Royal Navy, so I would suggest that it is perfectly reasonable for this vessel to wear it.

 I doubt Cleveley was wrong.

In order of seniority the Red Squadron was followed by the White Squadron and then the Blue.

An Admiral of the Red was senior to an Admiral of the White, who in turn was senior to an Admiral of the Blue.


ps Good choice of Ensign  Spyglass 😉




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@Blue Ensign thank you. I had the impression that the red ensign is for merchant and passenger ships. At least this is the way it is today. But as you just said, then, back in the 18th century were all, white, red and blue ensign, Royal Navy ensign.  Note that onboard of the R.Caroline was the royal family and the king him self.





Edited by MESSIS
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  • 1 month later...

Just to expand on BEs comprehensive answer above, ships under Admiralty orders not under command of a squadron would use the red ensign.  Seems most likely scenario here.


Rounding this out with another interesting fact, in addition to certain Royal yacht clubs, Retired Royal Navy officers today also get to fly an undefaced blue ensign (upon application and approval) for a civil ship they are in charge of.

Edited by Beef Wellington


"Which it will be ready when it is ready!"
In the shipyard:

HMS Jason (c.1794: Artois Class 38 gun frigate)

Queen Anne Royal Barge (c.1700)


HMS Snake (c.1797: Cruizer Class, ship rigged sloop)

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