The Royal Sovereign linked contemporary imperial politics with Britain's naval past and ongoing questions about ship design. The management of ship design, construction and repair by naval officers ensured that the authority of naval architects remained limited in the Royal Dockyards. Engineering science, and in particular the engineering science of naval architecture, was a young profession with practitioners who were explicitly concerned with their 'social mobility on both personal and professional levels'. The events between the launch of the Devastation and that of the Royal Sovereign had highlighted the potential for further uses of engineering knowledge. The design of the Royal Sovereign met with heavy criticism from the pen of former Chief Constructor Edward James Reed. Philip Colomb, who was one of the most vocal members of the historical school in the Royal Navy, believed that the Royal Sovereign was a sailor's ship.