Princess Royal and Chilean Navy honour Lord Cochrane

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal joined representatives of the Chilean Navy at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 19th May for the annual wreath-laying ceremony to honour Admiral Lord Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, on Chilean Naval Day.

The Princess Royal and His Excellency Roland Drago, the Ambassador of Chile, laid wreaths at Cochrane's grave in the Nave.

The ceremony was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall.

The 15th Earl of Dundonald read Psalm 107: 1-9, 23-32.

Admiral Thomas Cochrane (1775-1860) had a truly remarkable career as a naval officer and a politician. One of the Royal Navy's most audacious and feared commanders during the Napoleonic Wars, he went on to command the Chilean, Brazilian and Greek navies, helping these countries in their fight for independence.

His life and exploits served as inspiration for the naval fiction of 20th-century novelists C.S. Forester, who created the character of Captain Horatio Hornblower around him; and Patrick O'Brian, who drew on Cochrane's tactics for his naval stories featuring Captain Jack Aubrey (played by Russell Crowe in the film Master and Commander).

The service also commemorated the centenary of the rescue of Sir Ernest Shackleton by Lieutenant Luis Pardo of the Chilean Navy who piloted his ship Yelcho through through the Drake Passage to Elephant Island in the Antarctic to rescue Shackleton's Endurance Expedition in August 1916.

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