By mid century membership was keenly sought after and club records show that many candidates were disappointed. One who was fortunate to be admitted was Prince Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria, later to be Emperor of Mexico. Prince Ferdinand was a brother of Emperor Franz Joseph and was the founder of the Imperial Austrian Navy.

A special meeting of the General Committee was convened on 30th November 1858 to consider if Prince Ferdinand should be allowed to go forward for ballot for membership. It was felt by many of the members that “the admission of Foreigners” into the club might cause the Lords of the Admiralty to withdraw some of their privileges. After the matter was discussed for some time he was allowed to go forward and was in due course elected & admitted.