This is the 'Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide' Royal Regatta Events Page -
see the other regatta pages on this site
Umpires' Launches, 1839 and before, 1840s, 1850s, 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s2020s

Official websites:
Henley Royal Regatta; Henley Women's Regatta; Henley Town and Visitors Regatta;
History of Henley Royal Regatta


In the shorthand used the number is the number of oars people 8, 4, 2, or 1
+ means plus a cox; - means no cox; x means sculling (2 blades per person)
8+: EIGHT (with cox)
The dates are explained below in the individual details. See also the timeline below the next table

The great change since 1990 has been the incorporation of women's rowing into what was previously entirely a male preserve. There have been extraordinary efforts made to make this possible. There is still no mixed rowing (men and women oars people in the same boat) the events are kept separate.
(In 2019 the King's Cup for armed forces rowing had mixed rowing - specifying at least two women in each eight, but this was an exception. It seemed to work remarkably well.)

Grand Challenge Cup 8+1839
Stewards' Challenge Cup 4-1841
Queen Mother Challenge Cup 4x1981
Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup2-1845
Double Sculls Challenge Cup 2x1939
Diamond Challenge Sculls 1x1844
Remenham Challenge Cup 8+2002
Town Challenge Cup 4-2017
Princess Grace Challenge Cup 4x2001
Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup 2-2018
Stonor Challenge Cup 2x2017
Princess Royal Challenge Cup 1x1996
Ladies Challenge Plate [for men!] 8+1845
Visitors' Challenge Cup 4-(1874)
Prince of Wales Challenge Cup 4x2007
Thames Challenge Cup 8+1868
Wyfold Challenge Cup 4-1847
Britannia Challenge Cup 4+1969
Temple Challenge Cup 8+1990
Prince Albert Challenge Cup 4+2006
Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup 8+1946
Fawley Challenge Cup 4+1992
Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup 4x2012


Its easy to think nothing ever changes at the regatta - the reality is very different:
1839: Grand Challenge Cup at first regatta (Open Men Eights)
1841: Stewards' Challenge Cup (Fours, originally with cox)
?: District fours (Intermediate Men's coxed fours)
1844: Diamond Sculls trophy was a diamond scarf pin (Men's open single sculls)
1845: Ladies Challenge Plate (Intermediate men's eights)
1845: Silver Wherries Pair Oar
1847: Visitors' Challenge Cup replaced District Fours
1847: Wyfold Challenge Cup for challengers for the Grand Challenge Cup
1850: Silver Goblets instead of silver Wherries for pair oar race
1850: Diamond Challenge Sculls -a silver gilt cup was presented to the winner to keep
1855: Wyfold Challenge Cup became for Men's fours
1868: Thames Challenge Cup for Men's Club eights
1868: Stewards' Challenge Cup - Brasenose cox jumped out - won, and was disqualified
1873: Stewards' Challenge Cup became coxless
1874: Visitors Challenge Cup became coxless (Intermediate men's coxless fours
1895: Silver Goblets added "And Nickalls' Challenge Cup
1896: Grand Challenge Cup base added
1939: Presentation Goblets for Men Double Sculler (marking centenary of regatta)
1946: Double Sculls Challenge Cup and medals replaced Goblets
1946: Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup Public Schools Eights event
1954: Grand Challenge Cup base extended. Book of Honour added as integral part of trophy
1957: Base added to Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. Men's Junior Eights
1964: Grand Challenge Cup, a new cup presented by the winning Harvard crew 1914
1964: Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup rules change. Men's Junior Eights
1969: Britannia Challenge Cup for Club Men's coxed fours
1981: Queen Mother Challenge Cup (Men Open Quad Sculls)
1981 & 1982: Women's Coxed fours invitation races
1981 & 1982: Women's Double Sculls event
1985: Ladies Challenge Plate rules changed (Men's Intermediate eights)
1986: Grand Challenge Cup base extended
1987: Diamond Challenge Sculls new case for the trophy
1990: Temple Challenge Cup for Student men's Eights
1992: Fawley Challenge Cup. Junior Men's Quad Sculls
1993-1995: Women's single sculls as a round of the FISA World Cup
1995: Wyfold Challenge Cup rules made it for Men's Club coxless fours
1997: Princess Royal Challenge Cup for Women's single sculls
1998 & 1999: Invitation race for Women's Eights
2000: The Henley Prize for Women's eights
2000: Visitors' Challenge Cup rule changes (Intermediate men's coxless fours)
2001: Intermediate Men's Quad sculls event
2001: Women's Quadruple Sculls event
2002: Remenham Challenge Cup replaced the Henley Prize
2003: Princess Grace Challenge Cup for Women's Quadruple Sculls
2004: Student coxed fours event
2006: Prince Albert Challenge Cup for Student Coxed fours
2007: Prince of wales Challenge Cup for Intermediate Men's Quad Sculls)
2007: Women's coxless fours replaced coxed fours
2012: Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup Women's Junior Quad Sculls
2014: Grand Challenge Cup new base
2017: Women's Pair event
2017: Women's Double Sculls event
2018: Stonor Challenge Cup for women's pair
2018: Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup for Women's Pair
2018: Town Challenge Cup for women's coxless fours
2019: The King's Cup - centenary of the Peace Regatta in 1919 (see 2019 in 2010s


THE GRAND CHALLENGE CUP dates from 1839, in which year the Stewards resolved that a Silver Cup, value 100 guineas, to be called the “Henley Grand Challenge Cup”, be rowed for annually by amateur crews in eight-oared boats.
At this first Regatta, J. D. Bishop, of Leander Club, umpired on horseback. The race, which was between First Trinity, Cambridge, Brasenose College, Oxford, Wadham College, Oxford and Eton College, was won by Trinity.
The Grand Challenge Cup has been competed for annually since 1839 with the exception of the years affected by the two World Wars. While the text of the qualification rules has varied over the years, the Cup has always been open, except in the Olympic Games year of 1908, to all established amateur clubs. The Cup has been won by overseas crews fifty one times from eleven different countries.
The base of the Cup was added in 1896 and extended in 1954 and 1986 and records the names of all winning crews since the inception of the Regatta. The Book of Honour was added as an integral part of the trophy in 1954. In 1964, the winning Harvard crew of 1914 presented the Regatta with a new cup, being identical to the now fragile original of 1839; this new cup continues to be used as the trophy.
In 2014 a new base was commissioned as spaces for the names of the winning crews had run out on the old base. A small group of Harvard oarsmen paid for the new base in memory of the famous Harvard Coach, Harry Parker.

Coxless Fours
Instituted in 1841, THE STEWARDS’ CHALLENGE CUP is second only to The Grand Challenge Cup in seniority and is subject to the same rules of entry. In early days the boats carried coxswains. Such an encumbrance seemed unnecessary to W. B. Woodgate, who, when competing in the event in the Brasenose four in 1868, instructed the coxswain, F. E. Weatherley, to jump overboard on the word “Go”. Lightened by the ejection of this passenger, the Brasenose four went on to win easily only to be disqualitied. In 1873 The Stewards’ Challenge Cup became a coxless race.

Quadruple Sculls
THE QUEEN MOTHER CHALLENGE CUP was introduced in 1981, the first time there had been a race in this class of boat at the Regatta. The Qualification Rules are the same as those for The Grand Challenge Cup.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother graciously consented to this trophy being named after her to mark the occasion of her 80th birthday in 1980, the year in which it was decided to institute this event.

The Pair-Oared Race was instituted in 1845 for presentation prizes of Silver Wherries. In 1850 these were discontinued and Silver Goblets were given instead as presentation prizes. In 1895 Tom Nickalls donated a challenge trophy in the form of a Silver Peg Cup to commemorate the achievements of his sons, Guy and Vivian, who between them won eleven Goblets in the 1890s. The event became THE SILVER GOBLETS AND NICKALLS’ CHALLENGE CUP. A century later Steve Redgrave won the event in 1995 for a record seventh time, to be joined in 2003 by Matthew Pinsent when he recorded his seventh victory.

Double Sculls
To mark the Centenary Regatta in 1939, presentation goblets were offered for a Double Sculling Race. THE DOUBLE SCULLS CHALLENGE CUP and medals were instituted in 1946, whilst a silver base was added in 1987.

Single Sculls
The race for The Diamond Sculls "for amateurs, open to all England" was introduced in 1844. At that time, The Diamond Sculls trophy was a presentation prize of a diamond scarf-pin. THE DIAMOND CHALLENGE SCULLS was not instituted until 1850. In that year the diamond scarf-pin prize gave way to a silver-gilt 'pineapple' cup, which was similarly presented to the winner to keep. In 1957 a new case was made for the trophy as there was no more room for further silver plaques in the old case, which had held the sculls for 116 years.
The Diamond Challenge Sculls was the first open event to go abroad, J. K. K. Ooms taking the trophy back to Amsterdam as long ago as 1892. This event has been won six times by both Stuart MacKenzie of Australia and Mahé Drysdale of New Zealand.


At the 1998 and 1999 Regattas the Stewards held an Invitation Race for Women’s Eights. At the Stewards’ Meeting in December 1999 it was decided to make this event into an Open Women’s Eights event, formally incorporated in the Rules of the Regatta and to be known as The Henley Prize. At the 2002 Regatta the event became known as THE REMENHAM CHALLENGE CUP when the Stewards accepted the gift of a trophy presented by Remenham Club in recognition of the support its founding clubs had given women’s rowing and in memory of its past President, Ian Rogers, M.B.E.

Coxless Fours
An invitation Race for Women’s Coxed Fours has previously been held at the Regatta in 1981 and 1982. In 2017, a new Open event was inaugurated for "Women’s Fours", raced in coxless boats in line with World Championship and Olympic regattas, and with qualification rules the same as those for The Remenham Challenge Cup. In 2018, when trophies were commissioned for all three of the new Open Women’s events at the Regatta by Ottewill Silversmiths, the event became known as THE TOWN CHALLENGE CUP; this recalls the name of the trophy for coxed fours which was presented alongside The Grand Challenge Cup for eights at the very first Regatta in 1839 and annually thereafter until 1883, after which it was given in trust to Henley Town and Visitors’ Regatta.

Quadruple Sculls
At the 2001 Regatta an event was introduced with the same Qualihcation Rules as those for The Remenham Challenge Cup. In 2003 the Stewards received approval from the Palace of Monaco for this event to be called THE PRINCESS GRACE CHALLENGE CUP in memory of Her Serene Highness. Her brother, Jack Kelly Junior, had won The Diamond Challenge Sculls in 1947 and in 1949. Princess Grace was the Regatta Prizegiver in 1981 and her son, H.S.H. The Prince Albert of Monaco, presented the prizes in 2004.

At the 2017 Regatta the Stewards introduced a new Open event for “Women’s Pairs”, intended for crews of the highest international standard. In 2018, a trophy was specially made and the event became known as THE HAMBLEDEN PAIRS CHALLENGE CUP; this commemorates the trophy presented for the pairs event at the Royal Henley Peace Regatta in 1919 by Viscount Hambleden, who five years later allowed a portion of his land on the Berkshire bank at the Start to be trimmed to enable the creation of the "Straight Course" on which the Regatta is still raced today. In addition to the trophy, both members of the winning crew receive presentation miniatures.

Double Sculls
An Invitation Race for Women’s Double Sculls has previously been held at the Regatta in 1981 and 1982. In 2017, a new Open event was inaugurated for "Women’s Double Sculls" intended, like the pairs events, for crews of the highest international standard. In 2018, a trophy in the form of a silver salver was specially made and the event became known as THE STONOR CHALLENGE TROPHY. This commemorates Thomas Stonor (later Lord Camoys), who chaired the meeting in 1839 at which the Regatta was set up and became one of its first Stewards.

Single Sculls
In 1993 an event was introduced, and counted as a round of the F.I.S.A. World Cup in the three years 1993 to 1995. In 1996 the Stewards purchased a silver cup as a challenge trophy and were delighted to obtain the approval of Her Majesty The Queen for this trophy to be called THE PRINCESS ROYAL CHALLENGE CUP and this was presented for the first time in 1997. In addition, the winner of The Princess Royal Challenge Cup receives a set of miniature crossed sculls as a presentation prize. This event has been won five times by both Maria Brandin of Sweden and Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic.


In 1845 a new challenge prize was offered for eight-oared crews which, in the following year, was named THE LADIES’ CHALLENGE PLATE. It is believed it is so named because the cup was presented by the wives of Stewards, or ladies of Henley. Up to the 1966 Regatta, entries for this event were restricted to boat clubs from colleges, schools and certain other academic institutions within the United Kingdom together with Trinity College, Dublin. The rules were then widened to permit entries from any college, school or academic institution throughout the world.
In 1985 major changes to the rules for the 'Ladies' and the 'Thames' removed the 'student' requirement for the 'Ladies', which became an event open to crews from any club and is now the second most senior event for men’s eights at the Regatta.

Coxless Fours
THE VISITORS’ CHALLENGE CUP was originally called The District Fours and awarded for a local four-oared race with coxswains. The event was renamed in 1847, but in 1874 it became an event for coxless fours. From 1971 to 2000 the event was open only to boat clubs of any academic institution throughout the world. At the Stewards’ Meeting in December 2000 it was decided to expand the intermediate level of events by opening up The Visitors’ Challenge Cup to clubs as well as to the students and by creating a new event for Men’s Quadruple Sculls. Both these events now have similar Qualification Rules to those for The Ladies’ Challenge Plate.

Quadruple Sculls
The Men’s Quadruple Sculls event was introduced to the Regatta in 2001, at the same level as The Ladies’ Challenge Plate and The Visitors’ Challenge Cup.
In 2007 HRH. The Prince of Wales kindly consented to his name being associated with a new trophy for the Men’s Quadruple Sculls - THE PRINCE OF WALES CHALLENGE CUP. In 2008 a trophy was donated by Vincent Saunders, a Member of the Stewards’ Enclosure. The trophy was originally competed for in the 1931 Aero Club’s King’s Cup Race. The renamed trophy commemorates a long association with the Regatta. In 1887 the first members of the British Royal Family to visit the Regatta were the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra). In 1921 the Prince of Wales, later to reign briefly as Klng Edward VIII, came to Henley to present the prizes.


THE THAMES CHALLENGE CUP was instituted in 1868, and attracted entries from Home and Overseas crews of ‘club’, rather than ‘Grand’, standard. The event now has a number of exclusions, with the intention of ensuring that the ‘Thames’ is an event for typical club crews.

Coxless Fours
THE WYFOLD CHALLENGE CUP was presented to the Regatta in 1847. At that time it was the custom for the challengers in each event to row trial heats among themselves and for the successful challenger to contest the final heat against the winners of the previous year. As the engravings on the cup record, this prize was awarded to the winning challenger for The Grand Challenge Cup. In 1855 the trophy was made over to a four-oared race. In December 1995 the Qualification Rules for this event were brought in line with those adopted for The Thames Challenge Cup. Again the intention is to ensure that the ‘Wyfold’ is an event for typical club crews.

Coxed Fours
THE BRITANNIA CHALLENGE CUP was presented in 1969 by Nottingham Britannia Rowing Club, on its centenary, as an event for four-oars with coxswain. This event was originally open to clubs, universities and schools. Until 1988 entries were restricted to crews from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, but the event was then opened to entries from any country. After the 2003 Regatta the Stewards decided to divide this 32 boat event into two 16 boat events one restricted to club crews and the other restricted to student crews. The Britannia Challenge Cup is now only open to club crews.


As part of the search to find the right formula for the eights events at the Regatta an additional event was instituted in 1990 for the eights of single colleges, of smaller university boat clubs and of schools unable to enter for The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup by reason of age. This proved to be a very popular event. The Stewards quickly decided that it should become a permanent part of the Regatta programme and provided a trophy, THE TEMPLE CHALLENGE CUP. The cup, made in 1835 by Charles Fox, has been engraved with a sketch of the Temple on the island at the Start.
The rules are now designed to cater for the majority of the student crews, but with a number of important restrictions. The intention here is that the first boats of the leading universities’ boat clubs should be racing in the ‘Ladies’ and not in the ‘Temple’.

Coxed Fours
In 2004 a new 16 boat event was inaugurated open only to crews from universities, colleges and schools. In its first year the event was won by a crew from Imperial College London. In 2006 this event was renamed THE PRINCE ALBERT CHALLENGE CUP and a new trophy was commissioned and donated by Imperial College London. HRH.Prince Albert determined that profits from the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park be used for the purposes of art and science, leading directly to the establishment of National Institutions, as well as Imperial College in 1907, in South Kensington. In 1851 the Prince also became the first Royal Patron of the Regatta. The trophy, designed and executed by the Silversmith, Hector Miller, was handed to the Chairman and Secretary of the Regatta by the Rector of Imperial College at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen in June 2006.


THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH CHALLENGE CUP was instituted in 1946 for public schools in the United Kingdom and was opened to entries from overseas in 1964; the rules were later modified to include secondary schools. The inauguration of this race coinciding, as it did, with the first visit to the Regatta of Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth (now Her Majesty The Queen), permission was graciously given to name the trophy 'The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup'. The cup now used as the trophy was made in 1802 and given to the Regatta in 1957; the silver base was added in the same year.
Entries are restricted to just one crew per school. It is still open for schools to enter further crews in The Temple Challenge Cup.

Quadruple Sculls
THE FAWLEY CHALLENGE CUP was offered for the first time at the 1992 Regatta. This event is now only open to crews from any one club or school, home and overseas, where no sculler will have attained his eighteenth birthday before the first day of September preceding the event. The trophy presented for this event is the cup given to the Regatta by his family in memory of Nicholas Young who rowed for Westminster School and St. Catherine’s College, Oxford.


Quadruple Sculls
THE DIAMOND JUBILEE CHALLENGE CUP was instituted in 2012. The event is open to crews from any one club or school, home and overseas, where no sculler will have attained her eighteenth birthday before the first day of September preceding the event. Her Majesty The Queen graciously consented to the event being titled to mark her 60 years on the throne, the year in which the event was instituted. A silver cup was presented by British Rowing in 2013; this had first been raced for in 1933 at the Thames Championships Regatta, it re-appeared in 1972 as the women’s Victor Ludorum Trophy at the National Rowing Championships.