25-Nov-1835: HMS Beagle entertains a royal visitor

In chapter 18 of The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin describes a royal visitor to the ship in the large, awkward shape of Queen Pōmarre of Tahiti:

Queen Pōmare
Queen Pōmare IV of Tahiti (1827–1877).

November 25th [1835]. - In the evening four boats were sent for her majesty; the ship was dressed with flags, and the yards manned on her coming on board. She was accompanied by most of the chiefs. The behaviour of all was very proper: they begged for nothing, and seemed much pleased with Captain Fitz Roy’s presents. The queen is a large awkward woman, without any beauty, grace or dignity. She has only one royal attribute: a perfect immovability of expression under all circumstances, and that rather a sullen one. The rockets were most admired, and a deep “Oh!” could be heard from the shore, all round the dark bay, after each explosion. The sailors’ songs were also much admired; and the queen said she thought that one of the most boisterous ones certainly could not be a hymn! The royal party did not return on shore till past midnight.

Richard Carter, FCD

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteNewsletterMastodonetc…


  1. I understand the representative from the Tahiti National Party was turned away at the last minute.

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