Ernest II (1818-1893) was the second sovereign duke of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, reigning from 1844 to his death. Ernest was born in Coburg as the eldest child of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and his duchess, Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Fourteen months later, his family would be joined by one brother, Prince Albert, later consort of Queen Victoria. Ernest's father became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1826 through an exchange of territories. He succeeded as duke upon the death of his father on 29 January 1844.
HMS Queen was a 110-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 15 May 1839 at Portsmouth. She was the last sailing battleship to be completed before the advent of steam. In 1854, she participated in the bombardment of Sevastopol, Ukraine during the Crimean War. In May 1862 she was cruising under the command of Charles Hillyar in the eastern Mediterranean, visiting Corfu, Alexandria, Pireaus, Trieste, Patras and Beirut. Sir Charles Farrell Hillyar KCB (1817-1888) was a Royal Navy admiral who went on to be Commander-in-Chief, China Station in 1877. He retired in 1882.