The Royalist was a 142-ton topsail schooner, comparable with HMS Pickle, which had brought the news of the Battle of Trafalgar home. She was probably built in Cowes in 1834 as a gentleman's yacht for Rev T.L. Lane, but purchased by James Brooke in 1836 with money he had inherited from his father. He intended to use it for an expedition to the East Indies in the course of a circumnavigation of the globe, in preparation for which he cruised in the Mediterranean in 1837. As a vessel of the Royal Yacht Squadron it was permitted to fly the White Ensign and be accorded the same rights as ships of the Royal Navy. When armed, with "6 six-pounders, a number of swivels, and small arms in abundance," Royalist was effectively a private warship. Royalist played an instrumental role in establishing Brooke's foothold in Sarawak, from his first visit in 1839 until he became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841. The Royalist was last heard of in Brunei in September 1843, and is said to have been sold early in 1844.
In modern Sarawak, there are several references to this well known ship, such as The Royalist Pub in Kuching.