This content is imported from Instagram. Lauren Hubbard is a freelance writer and Town & Country contributor who covers beauty, shopping, entertainment, travel, home decor, wine, and cocktails. In the early years of the Britannia's life it was also home to the Queen's Rolls-Royce Phantom V which was hoisted and lowered from a special garage compartment at port so that the Queen could drive her own car at each location. Often referred to as the last royal yacht, the Britannia was decommissioned in 1997, and despite some efforts, there are no signs of a new one in the near future. The interiors were ultimately redesigned by Sir Hugh Casson and received very minimal updates throughout her 44 years of service. On 23 June 1994, John Major's Government announced there would be no refit for HMY Britannia as the costs would be too great. On 20 October 1997, HMY Britannia left Portsmouth on her farewell tour around the UK. Browse our selection of exclusive souvenir gifts, Royal gifts, china, toys, food and nautical items. If the Queen wept when Britannia was decommissioned in 1997, no one then would pay to dry her eyes. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. The Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned on 11 December 1997 in Portsmouth, and the ceremony is one of the rare times Her Majesty has ever cried in public. While working, the crew reportedly used hand signals to communicate rather than shouting orders, in order to maintain a sense of quiet and calm for the royal residents. Designed to be a symbol of the nation’s pride and the flagship of the Royal Family, Britannia was the … It was sixty years ago today (April 16) that Queen Elizabeth II christened Britannia, the last in a long line of royal yachts that date back to the 17 th century.. For Elizabeth, Britannia was a floating royal residence, a Buckingham Palace at sea. A 21st-century national flagship must have official government backing. However, just two days after the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland received the order the King passed away on February 6, 1952. Town & Country participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Despite the sense of luxury that the term "royal yacht" inspires, the Queen and Prince Philip were actually concerned when they began overseeing the project in 1952 that the original interior design plans by the design firm McInnes Gardner & Partners were too lavish for a country still recovering from the war. With 12,000 horsepower, the ship could travel at a maximum 22.5 knots, ideal for ocean-going diplomacy. Caribbean honeymoon with Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Reportedly Back from Their Honeymoon, How to Plan a Royal-Themed Trip to Windsor, Everything We Know So Far About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Upcoming Royal Tour, The True Story of the Romanov Family's Execution. On 23 June 1994, John Major's Government announced there would be no refit for HMY Britannia as the costs would be too great. Royal Yacht Britannia: Why was this decommissioned? Royal Yacht Britannia used to be Queen Elizabeth’s Palace on Water and is now the most popular tourist attraction in Scotland. Though the ship was never actually put to that purpose, it was pressed into service on a rescue mission to help evacuate European nationals from South Yemen in 1986. Once deemed an official Royal residence it has been used for state visits and official receptions, in addition it has been used for Royal family holidays and for the honeymoons of several Royal … The twisted saga of Britannia’s final years began under John Major’s government, which announced, in 1994, that the 41-year-old yacht would be decommissioned when she came up … We look forward to welcoming you on board in Spring 2021. Prior to its launch, the royal family used ships from the Royal Navy or even passenger liners for the overseas portions of the royal tour. This was one of the few occasions The Queen publicly shed a tear as The Band of HM Royal Marines played the highly emotive 'Highland Cathedral.'. What to expect from your visit to The Royal Yacht Britannia. Queen blamed Major for royal yacht fiasco. After the election, the new Labour Government eventually confirmed in October 1997 there would be no replacement for Britannia. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. The Royal Yacht Britannia was used by Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for more than 40 years, sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world. Perhaps the most unusual element of the ship's functioning, though, was the steering. Suffice to say that even low-key royal living is a fairly high class. Though its seafaring days may be behind it (the ship now serves as a tourist attraction in Edinburgh, Scotland), the Britannia remains an important artifact and a peek behind the curtain of royal life. She was the 83rd royal yacht since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660 and the second to be called Britannia. The stairway off of the veranda was sometimes even converted into a waterslide for the younger royals. In 2011 on the night before her wedding, the Queen's oldest granddaughter Zara Phillips contracted the ship for a reception. In fact, over the centuries the monarchy has utilized 83 royal yachts, including the most recent, the HMY Britannia. The Duke of Edinburgh has criticised the decision to decommission the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was taken out of service after 43 years in 1997. Often referred to as the last royal yacht, the Britannia was decommissioned in 1997, and despite some efforts, there are no signs of a new one in the near future. Hire Her Majesty The Queen's former floating palace and experience an event of a lifetime. Being permanently moored definitely doesn’t mean standing still, however. Life on board the HMY Britannia was far from typical for her crew. Britannia was the first Royal Yacht to be built with complete ocean-going capacity and designed as a Royal residence to entertain guests around the world. The royal family has a long history of seafaring—the first official royal yacht was the HMY Mary (HMY stands for His or Her Majesty's Yacht), gifted to Charles II by the Dutch in 1660. In its 44 years of service, the HMY Britannia traveled around 1.1 million miles. To begin with, due to the prestige and pressure of the position, the commanding officer of the royal yacht was always a flag officer, most commonly a Rear Admiral, although the first two to serve were Vice Admirals and Britannia's final CO was a Commodore. Princess Margaret started the tradition in 1960 for her Caribbean honeymoon with Anthony Armstrong-Jones, a quiet, formal affair where dinners were taken in full evening dress every night. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Please keep checking our website and social media for further updates. The Royal Yacht Britannia was used by Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family for over 44 years. Royal Yacht Britannia: A 15-minute bus ride from Edinburgh city center; Frugal Queen uses bedsheets from the Royal Yacht Britannia that was decommissioned in 1997 – and turns them into pillow cases when they’re moth-eaten – The Sun SHE may live in a palace and have a host of sparkling jewels at her disposal, but the Queen has her frugal moments. After a long and successful career spanning 44 years and travelling over 1 million miles around the globe, it was announced that the last Royal Yacht was to be decommissioned. Britannia was launched at John Brown's Shipyard in Clydebank on 16 April 1953 and she was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base on 11 December 1997 in the presence of the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and fourteen senior members of The Royal Family. Our luxury floating hotel and exclusive use venue. Ultimately Elizabeth began using cars provided for her at port instead and the garage was converted into a storage area for beer. During the trip, the family would play games and have barbecues on the islands. The King was already in failing health by the time the designs for the HMY Britannia were submitted, and the hope was that traveling might help alleviate some of his symptoms. Receive news about The Royal Yacht Britannia. Happy 60th Birthday! Though plans were initially drawn up for a replacement yacht, the government ultimately determined not to fund the effort. The Royal Yacht Britannia - built in 1953 - is being decommissioned in Portsmouth on Thursday. Britannia's steering wheel was lifted from her namesake, the racing yacht HMY Britannia, built in 1893 for King Edward VII. The ship is permanently berthed in Leith docks which is just 15 minutes from Edinburgh city centre. The ship was built by John Brown & Co at the same shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland where the famous ocean liners the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary were constructed. Below, a few of its most notable moments throughout history. During the summer months, the royal family would often take off on what became known as the aptly named Western Isles tour, cruising around the western isles of Scotland. With so many memories around the yacht, it's not hard to understand why the decommissioning of the Britannia was upsetting for the royal family. There was no immediate decision about a replacement, but the question of a new Royal Yacht became a political issue in the run up to the 1997 General Election. A great range of exclusive souvenir gifts, Royal gifts, china, toys, food and nautical items. Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. The Britannia was the first royal yacht to be built for ocean travel Built by John Brown & Co at the shipyard in Clyde bank, Scotland alongside well-known liners Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, the Britannia was constructed to travel at a maximum 22.5 knots, which made it ideal for ocean-going diplomacy. Elizabeth and Philip oversaw the design and decoration of the Britannia when it was agreed that her parents' boat, the Victoria & Albert, was no longer seaworthy. The main veranda was laid out and re-enforced so that it could support a helicopter landing and the laundry was made much larger than on a standard naval vessel to accommodate the potential patients. Sailing the seas for more than 40 years, the yacht was decommissioned on Dec. 11, 1997. Prince Charles and Princess Diana famously spent their 1981 honeymoon on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the yacht. Britannia was decommissioned at a … After a long and successful career spanning 44 years and travelling over 1 million miles around the globe, it was announced that the last Royal Yacht was to be decommissioned. A Conservative lawmaker and the Daily Telegraph newspaper are proposing to recommission the royal yacht Britannia, former berth of Queen Elizabeth II, and send it … “The Royal Yacht Britannia has had its most successful year since first opening to the public 18 years ago.” several newspapers wrote today. The crew got around this rather surprising pitfall by using voice pipes from the bridge to confer navigational orders. The old royal yacht that was used for more than 40 years until it was decommissioned in 1997, attracted almost 350,000 people in 2016. The ship hosted four royal honeymoons in its 44 years of service. Long before it became a floating museum, the Britannia had an eye for history. Known by many names such as Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, Queen Elizabeth’s Yacht, HMY Britannia, etc., this Yacht was in the Queen’s service for 44 years and sailed more than a million miles around the world.. A post shared by The Royal Yacht Britannia (@royalyachtbritannia). When Britannia was first envisioned, less than a decade after the end of World War II, the designers sought to make it as functional as possible, crafting a space that could be converted from an ocean-going royal residence to a seafaring hospital during wartime. Britannia sailed on her maiden voyage from Portsmouth to Grand Harbour, Malta, departing on 14 April and arriving on 22 April 1954. The Royal Yacht Britannia was built to replace its predecessor, the Victoria and Albert III, which was the first Royal Yacht not to be powered by sail. It was a sad day when The Queen finally bid farewell to a ship that had so faithfully served her family and her country for over forty years. Britannia's future was a talking-point in the run-up to the 1997 general election. - See 22,171 traveller reviews, 9,676 candid photos, and great deals for Edinburgh, UK, at Tripadvisor. The crew managed to duck the press so efficiently they garnered the nickname "the ghost ship." A Sombre Farewell. This was a clockwise circumnavigation of Britain, calling at six major ports, including Glasgow. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at, Why the Duchess of Cornwall Loves Reading, What to Buy at DeMellier London's Winter Sale, Royal Reveals Rare Look Inside Kensington Palace, Kate's Kids Hosted a Tea Party for Her Birthday, Sussexes "Unlikely" to Return to Social Media, Remembering Philanthropist Marguerite Littman, The Royal Family Marks Kate Middleton's Birthdayg, Queen Elizabeth Receives Coronavirus Vaccine. A newly discovered note in the U.K.'s National Archives shows Queen Elizabeth II let government officials know she would welcome a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia once it was decommissioned. Rule Britannia! (Subject to Government guidelines at the time.). - See 22,170 traveler reviews, 9,676 candid photos, and great deals for Edinburgh, UK, at Tripadvisor. The tour often included a stop off at the Castle of Mey to visit the Queen Mother and then making berth in Aberdeen so that the Queen could travel to her favorite summer home, Balmoral. After the Queen officially took her leave of it in 1997, the ship was placed in the port of Leith in Scotland where it serves as a floating museum and events venue. Here, a photo tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, formerly the floating official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our online gift shop is open. All of the clocks on board remain stopped at 3:01, the exact time that Her Majesty disembarked for the last time. The gold and white binnacle housed on the ship's veranda deck was originally part of the HMY Royal George, a royal yacht that served Queen Victoria. Though it's no longer used as their private vessel, the Britannia's connection to the royal family didn't end in 1997. At the moment of decommissioning, exactly one minute past three, all the clocks on board were stopped. After an active lifetime in which she sailed over a million miles, the Royal Yacht Britannia is one of the world's best known ships. The space was ever so slightly too small, forcing the bumpers to be removed in order to get it into the garage without damage and then refitted when the car was removed. In addition to her diplomatic duties on royal tours and her service as a post-wedding retreat, the Britannia was also a vessel for family vacations. Though her grandmother wasn't in attendance (the Queen reportedly hasn't been back on the Britannia since 1997) Zara celebrated her upcoming marriage to Mike Tindall onboard along with her mother and her cousins Prince Harry, Prince William and Duchess Kate, Princess Eugenie, and Princess Beatrice. Royal Yacht Britannia: Yacht should really be "decommissioned". She carried Princess Anne and Prince Charles to Malta in order for them to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the end of the royal couple's Commonwealth Tour. The occasion will be marked by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, who will have their final lunch on board before attending the official paying-off ceremony. And the final royal honeymoon aboard the Britannia was taken by Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York in 1986 when the couple traveled around the Azores. All the clocks on Britannia were stopped at 15:01, the time The Queen was piped ashore for the last time. It is cared for by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a registered charity. When she was decommissioned in 1997, it marked the end of a long tradition of British Royal Yachts, dating back to 1660 and the reign of Charles II. In addition to the 56-seat State Dining Room, which hosted luminaries including Winston Churchill, Noel Coward, Nelson Mandela, and multiple US Presidents, the ship also sported a formal staircase where the Queen would greet guests, separate bedrooms and sitting rooms for both Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, and a phone system designed to match the unique configurations of Buckingham Palace's telephones. Likewise, some of the Queen's bed linens were originally made for Victoria's bed aboard one of the previous royal yachts. A new official history of Britannia says the former Tory premier failed to show leadership when it came to ordering a replacement. The Royal Yacht Britannia,Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ, Tel: 0131 555 5566Email us: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh embarked on Britannia for the first time in Tobruk on 1 May 1954. No fewer than four royal couples celebrated their honeymoons in the HMY Britannia's honeymoon suite (the only room onboard with a double bed.) Royal Yacht Britannia: Why was this decommissioned? It would take just over a year for the ship to be completed, during which its name remained a secret. The much-loved Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned in 1997 This is all most encouraging. The Queen is known to have shed a tear when Britannia was decommissioned. Elizabeth cracked a bottle of wine (at the time champagne was considered too extravagant for the launch of a ship) and announced, "I name this ship Britannia… I wish success to her and all who sail in her.". The Royal Yacht Britannia at night She launched from Clydebank 65 years ago, and was decommissioned in 1997. The royal yacht Britannia leaves Portsmouth for the last time in 1997. We are sorry to announce that the charity that operates The Royal Yacht Britannia have taken the decision to temporarily close to visitors from 9am on Wednesday 4 November until Monday 29 March 2021. It was also the last ship in the royal navy where the crew members slept in hammocks, a practice that they maintained until 1973. - See 22,171 traveler reviews, 9,676 candid photos, and great deals for Edinburgh, UK, at Tripadvisor. While on most ships, the steering wheel sits on the bridge, overlooking the front of the vessel, Britannia's was on the deck below in the wheelhouse, which meant that the yachtsmen who were actually doing the steering couldn't see where they were going. The royal yacht – the jewel in the Queen’s beloved fleet – was decommissioned in 1997, with then Prime Minister John Major announcing it would be retired from service in 1995. As she sailed past John Brown's Shipyard, she gave a blast on her sirens, in fond farewell to the yard which had proudly built her. The monarch once described the Royal Yacht as the “one place I can truly relax” and she was noted to have emotionally shed a tear when the boat was finally decommissioned in 1997. Please doff your sailor’s cap to honor a bit of British nautical history.