The Spirit of Chartwell

June 4, 2012

The Royal barge Spirit of Chartwell has passed under Tower Bridge where it has halted to allow the rest of the flotilla to pass. Report by Sam Datta-Paulin.

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*MV Spirit of Chartwell

The ship was formerly a Rhine ship known as the Van Gogh. It was refitted as a luxury Thames cruise vessel by the Dutch Kooiman Group in 2009/2010.

For the Diamond Jubilee Pageant the vessel was lavishly decorated in a red and gold scheme reminiscent of royal barges of the 17 and 18th century. Among the additions were thousands of flowers, an ornate gilded prow sculpture of Old Father Thames carved and moulded in Jesmonite, symbols of royalty, and a large red velvet banner with a royal coat of arms made of more than half a million gold-colored buttons.


Chartwell was the principal adult home of Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill and his wife Clementine bought the property, located two miles south of Westerham, Kent, England, in 1922.

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