The Priest class cruisers were built after the First Hive War as a general-purpose escort, commerce raider, and defensive ship as part of the 1894 Royal Navy Air Forces Act. The 1894 Act recognized that other nations were gaining modern and advanced Aerolyth forces. The appearance of the French Emperor Napoleon
caused a flurry of reports in the press, and calls for a renewed commitment to aerial forces.
Designed by the Admiralty Red design team, the first of its class, Priest, entered service in 1896. To reach its armor requirements, the designers used controversial compound Aluminum & Steel armor plates. The expense of the Aluminum was justified by experiments that showed a hard steel plate, cemented to softer aluminum could be more effective per unit mass than simple steel.