Royal Caroline, principal yacht to King George II and named in honour of his wife Caroline (of Ansbach), was built at Deptford by Mr. J. Allin in 1749. Designed as a sixth-rate mounting 10-3 pdrs. and 8-1/2 pdr. swivel guns, she was measured at 232 tons burden with a 90 foot gundeck and a 24½ foot beam. The largest royal yacht to date and the only such vessel to exceed 200 tons until Royal Sovereign was launched in 1804, her full ship rig made her a fine sight under sail and she required a crew of 70 men to handle her in view of her size. Quite apart from her many other duties, George II's frequent visits to Hanover meant that she was in constant use ferrying him to and from the Continent and she remained a firm favourite with the King until his death in 1760.
When the new King George III chose Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg to be his Queen, Royal Caroline was renamed Royal Charlotte in her honour and in consequence was selected as the obvious vessel to convey the new bride to England. A flotilla under the command of Admiral Lord Anson and consisting of four other royal yachts escorted by six ships-of-war sailed from Harwich on 7 August 1761 and embarked the future Queen and her ladies at the North German town of Stade on the 28th. The homeward journey was beset by bad weather and when the little fleet eventually made Harwich safely on 6 September, it had weathered three severe storms and been almost wrecked on the shores of Norway on more than one occasion.
After the Princess Augusta was launched in 1771, Royal Charlotte lost her place as the most favoured royal yacht but continued in service, her duties actually increasing as George III's children grew into adulthood and greater independence. In October 1797, Royal Charlotte reverted briefly to her former pre-eminence by taking the King down the the Nore to visit the fleet after its victory at Camperdown although the actual review had to be abandoned due to adverse weather. This proved her last ceremonial outing and other than carrying the King on the occasional trip to Weymouth during 1801-1804, she was mostly laid up at Deptford due to the war and finally broken up in 1820.