The ship-of-the-line portrayed here is believed to be the Prince, one of the finest vessels in the Stuart Navy. A 'first-rate' of 1,395 tons and mounting 100 guns, she was built at Chatham and launched in 1670. During the Third Anglo-Dutch War of 1672-74, she was the flagship of James, Duke of York, the Lord High Admiral and younger brother of King Charles II. Rebuilt in 1692 and renamed Royal William, she was subsequently rebuilt again in 1719 and remained afloat for a remarkably long career, being finally broken up in 1813.
The Royal Visit of 1672: Having already fought the Dutch in 1665-67, Charles II's foreign policy of uneasy alliance with France resulted in another conflict with Holland in 1672. Soon after war was declared, the combined Anglo-French fleet, under the command of the Duke of York, was surprised by a large Dutch fleet as it lay at anchor in Solebay on 28th May 1672. After a long and costly action lasting much of the day, the Dutch emerged victorious and the Duke of York was obliged to return to port to repair his battered ships. He made for the Nore, a safe anchorage at the mouth of the River Medway in the Thames estuary, where the King, his brother, visited him aboard the flagship on 6th June.
The original work by Willem van de Velde the Younger (signed and dated 1696) of this same event is in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, p.399, catalogue reference BHC0299.