NameSpirit of Chartwell
OwnerMário Ferreira (Douro Azul)
OperatorDouro Azul S.A.
BuilderGrave B.V. Grave Netherlands
StatusIn active service
United Kingdom
NameSpirit of Chartwell
OwnerPhilip Morrell
OperatorMagna Carta Steamship Company
Port of registryLondon,  UK
RouteRiver Thames
NotesRoyal barge
NameVincent van Gogh
NamesakeVincent van Gogh
OperatorKooiman Group
BuilderGrave B.V. Grave Netherlands
Maiden voyage1997
General characteristics
Class and typeLuxury Commercial passenger vessel
Tonnage485 GT[1]
Length63.87 m (210 ft)
Beam6.72 m (22 ft)
Height3.8 m (12 ft)
Draught1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)
Installed powerDAF 2 × 350 hp
PropulsionTwin ZF Marine (formally known as HRP)
Speed11 knots
NotesTwo bow thrusters

MV Spirit of Chartwell is a hotel barge owned and operated by Portuguese holiday company Douro Azul for luxury cruises along the Douro river, Porto, Portugal.

Previously owned and operated by the Magna Carta Steamship Company for luxury cruises along the River Thames, she was selected in late 2011 to be the royal barge as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and carried the Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in a flotilla of more than 1,000 vessels during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012.[2] The ship was sold in June 2012 to Douro Azul to operate luxury cruises in the Douro river.[3]

She was designed in the style of the Côte d'Azur Pullman Express deluxe train and carries artefacts from the original train and ocean liners such as RMS Kenya Castle, SS France and RMS Windsor Castle.[4]

Former use and refit

The ship was formerly a Rhine ship known as Vincent van Gogh. She was refitted as a luxury Thames cruise vessel by the Dutch Kooiman Group in 2009/2010.[5]

Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

Decorated for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

For the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012 the vessel was lavishly decorated in red, gold and purple, reminiscent of royal barges of the 17th and 18th centuries. 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-coloured buttons.[6]

A special warrant was issued by the Secretary of State for Defence to permit Spirit of Chartwell to wear the White Ensign whilst serving as the Royal Barge on 3 June 2012.[7] When the Queen was on board, she also flew the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom from the bow.

See also


  1. ^ "Spirit of Chartwell, London - Deck Visualisations". Magna Carta Steamship Company Ltd. Archived from the original on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  2. ^ Paul Harrison (11 December 2011). "Royal Barge 'Jewel' For The Queen's Jubilee". Sky News. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  3. ^ Jorge Marmelo (14 September 2012). "Chega hoje ao Douro a barcaça real que os ingleses não queriam perder". Público. Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Setting the Scene". Magna Carta Steamship Company Ltd. Archived from the original on 11 December 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  5. ^ Spectacular refit of the "Spirit of Chartwell", Kooiman Group website.
  6. ^ "Lavish barge prepared for pageant". The Press Association. 2 June 2012.
  7. ^ Bartram, Graham (30 May 2012). "Thames Pageant Flag Guide" (PDF). The Flag Institute. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2014.