HMS Princess Royal (1911)

An early photo of Princess Royal, c.1916 or earlier. Her foremast was changed from a pole to a tripod in late 1916 to early 1917. Note the clean lines, particularly common with battlecruisers. Photo in the collection of the US Library of Congress.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

The only sister of HMS Lion, the battlecruiser HMS Princess Royal was laid down 2 May, 1910, and commissioned 14 November, 1912. A response to the German Moltke-class, she was armed with eight 13.5" (343mm) guns, and her armor belt was 9" (229mm) thick. A top speed of 28 knots made her one of the fastest ships in the world at the time, and she was, with Lion, also the largest. She soon saw action in the Battle of Heligoland Bight, and was detached to the Caribbean to prevent the German East Asia Squadron from returning through the Panama Canal. During the Battle of the Dogger Bank, Princess Royal crippled the cruiser Blucher, and was made flagship of the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron soon after the battle. Her final action would be at Jutland, where she was damaged, requiring a month and a half for repairs. She provided distant cover during the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight, but saw no further combat. She was placed in reserve in 1920, and an attempt to sell her to Chile fell through. Princess Royal was sold for scrap in 1922, another victim of the Washington Treaty.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: The Lion-class were nicknamed the "Splendid Cats," due to their elegant appearance.