After USS (formerly HMS) Resolute sailed across the Atlantic by Captain Henry Julius Hartstene, Queen Victoria asked to have Resolute towed to Cowes so she could visit the ship and receive her from Captain Hartstene. Queen Victoria and her family are walking across to the ship, while lighters in the foreground are filling with cheering people
Queen Victoria and the Royal Family Visit Resolute at Cowes

USS* Resolute arrived at Spithead on 12 December 1856. Queen Victoria set the tone for the acceptance of the gift by requesting the opportunity to visit Resolute with her family. The following day Resolute was towed out to Cowes, where Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the children were staying at Osborne House. This image captures the moment on 16 December, when the royal family and guests are coming onboard to accept the gift of Resolute from the American Captain Henry Julius Hartstene. (Queen Victoria is the shortest and closest little spot to Resolute’s side.)

For more information about Resolute’s remarkable tale please go to the page Resolute (concisely).

* During and after Resolute’s refurbishment most newspaper reporters, in both the USA and Great Britain, steered away from using her designation HMS (Her Majesty’s Ship) Resolute. After Buddington salvaged her and brought her to his homeport of New London, Connecticut, and after Congress approved her purchase by the US government, she actually entered the US Navy, becoming USS (United States Ship) Resolute. Despite this change in her title most reporters continued referring to her by her job description, “Arctic exploration ship” throughout her refurbishment and her voyage back across the Atlantic to Britain. In doing this they did avoid the quagmire of her legal status, but I like to call her USS Resolute because I believe it reflects just how special and unique her life’s journey was. But I might be the only historian who does!

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