HMS Royal Sovereign (1786)

Royal Sovereign (left) rakes the stern of the Spanish ship of the line Santa Ana during the Battle of Trafalgar. Original painting by James Carmichael, now in the collections of the Royal Museums Greenwich.

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Ship Type
Laid Down

Third ship to bear the name, HMS Royal Sovereign was launched on 11 September, 1786. Fitting out completed the following year, Royal Sovereign was in the British Line of Battle on the Glorious 1st of June, 1794, and also fought in the First Battle of Groix, 16 June, 1795. During the Battle of Trafalgar, Royal Sovereign was the first ship to breach the Franco-Spanish line, and was hotly engaged for the duration. She ended up capturing the Santa Anna, but lost her main and mizzen masts, having to be towed home. Royal Sovereign was repaired and put back into service, and returned to Mediterranean blockade duty in 1806, continuing there until 1811. She rejoined the Channel Fleet in 1812, and continued service there until 1825, when she was converted to a receiving ship and renamed HMS Captain on 17 August. She was hulked the following June, and broken up by 1841.