Royal barge Gloriana collides with Kew bridge

The star boat of the Queen's Jubilee Pageant, the Royal row barge Gloriana, runs into trouble on the Thames

Gloriana, the £1m row barge that led the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, has collided with Kew Bridge on the River Thames, becoming wedged under the Grade II listed structure on a rising tide.

The incident happened on Thursday evening and is, somewhat ironically for an oar-powered vessel, being blamed on engine failure.

Chiswick RNLI came to the rescue and freed Gloriana, towing her to Kew Pier, but not before suffering a few problems of their own.

Describing the smash on its Facebook page, Chiswick RNLI said: “It appeared Gloriana was travelling under its own power when both engines failed as it was passing Strand-on-the-Green. The incoming tide then carried the vessel upstream where it became wedged under the central span of the bridge.

“Whilst discussing with the skipper the best way to extricate her, Gloriana came free and was blown by the gusting winds to the other side of the span.

“The lifeboat attempted to get between the barge and the arch to prevent her from getting jammed again but couldn’t get there in time.”

It was during this period that the stern of the lifeboat came into contact with the port quarter of Gloriana, causing additional damage.

But the RNLI insisted: “It was important the recovery was carried out quickly as the tide was still rising and Gloriana would have become even more firmly wedged under the bridge causing further damage to its superstructure.”

Gloriana was built as a tribute

to Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee and, when not under power, is

designed to be rowed by 18 oarsmen. The project was initiated by Lord Sterling,

former P&O chairman, who said that damage caused to the barge in

yesterday’s incident was superficial and would be repaired.