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The Royal Navy has played a central role in Britain 's history for centuries. It is the oldest of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and is the Senior of the three Services. Founded by Henry VIII a professional and national naval force was in existence when King Charles II came to the throne in 1660. At the time he inherited a huge fleet of 154 ships and it was the beginning of the Royal Navy as we know it today.
British ships and sailors were symbols of the nation's dominance until the 20th Century but this dominance was driven not only by great naval supremacy and naval leaders but by Britain 's industrial advance and technology which helped to shape the future of warfare.
From the beginning of the 19th century until well into the 20th century it was the most powerful navy in the world at a time when Great Britain was the world's only superpower.
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