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HMY Britannia

HMY Britannia

Overview

Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former Royal Yacht
Royal Yacht
A royal yacht is a ship used by a monarch or a royal family. If the monarch is an emperor the proper term is imperial yacht. Most of them are financed by the government of the country of which the monarch is head...

 of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. She was the 83rd such vessel since the restoration of King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in 1660. She is the second Royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the famous racing cutter
HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht)
His Majesty's Yacht Britannia was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. She served him and his son, King George V, a long racing career.-Racing career:...

 built for The Prince of Wales
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 in 1893. She is now permanently moored as an exhibition ship at Ocean Terminal
Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh
Ocean Terminal in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland is a shopping centre, designed by Sir Terence Conran.It is built on former industrial docklands on the north side of the city at the edge of the boundary between formerly separate ports of Newhaven and Leith. The land was formerly occupied by the Henry...

, Leith
Leith
-South Leith v. North Leith:Up until the late 16th century Leith , comprised two separate towns on either side of the river....

, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland.

HMY
Her Majesty's Ship
Her or His Majesty's Ship is the ship prefix used for ships of the navy in some monarchies, either formally or informally.-HMS:* In the British Royal Navy, it refers to the king or queen of the United Kingdom as appropriate at the time...

 Britannia was built at the shipyard of John Brown & Co. Ltd
John Brown & Company
John Brown and Company of Clydebank was a pre-eminent Scottish marine engineering and shipbuilding firm, responsible for building many notable and world-famous ships, such as the , the , the , the , the , and the...

 in Clydebank
Clydebank
Clydebank is a town in West Dunbartonshire, in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. Situated on the north bank of the River Clyde, Clydebank borders Dumbarton, the town with which it was combined to form West Dunbartonshire, as well as the town of Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire, and the Yoker and...

, West Dunbartonshire
West Dunbartonshire
West Dunbartonshire is one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland. Bordering onto the west of the City of Glasgow, containing many of Glasgow's commuter towns and villages as well as the city's suburbs, West Dunbartonshire also borders onto Argyll and Bute, Stirling, East...

, UK, being launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 on 16 April 1953 and commissioned on 11 January 1954.

The ship was designed with three masts, a 133 feet (40.5 m) foremast, a 139 feet (42.4 m) mainmast, and a 118 feet (36 m) mizzenmast.
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Encyclopedia

Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former Royal Yacht
Royal Yacht
A royal yacht is a ship used by a monarch or a royal family. If the monarch is an emperor the proper term is imperial yacht. Most of them are financed by the government of the country of which the monarch is head...

 of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. She was the 83rd such vessel since the restoration of King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in 1660. She is the second Royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the famous racing cutter
HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht)
His Majesty's Yacht Britannia was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. She served him and his son, King George V, a long racing career.-Racing career:...

 built for The Prince of Wales
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 in 1893. She is now permanently moored as an exhibition ship at Ocean Terminal
Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh
Ocean Terminal in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland is a shopping centre, designed by Sir Terence Conran.It is built on former industrial docklands on the north side of the city at the edge of the boundary between formerly separate ports of Newhaven and Leith. The land was formerly occupied by the Henry...

, Leith
Leith
-South Leith v. North Leith:Up until the late 16th century Leith , comprised two separate towns on either side of the river....

, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland.

Construction


HMY
Her Majesty's Ship
Her or His Majesty's Ship is the ship prefix used for ships of the navy in some monarchies, either formally or informally.-HMS:* In the British Royal Navy, it refers to the king or queen of the United Kingdom as appropriate at the time...

 Britannia was built at the shipyard of John Brown & Co. Ltd
John Brown & Company
John Brown and Company of Clydebank was a pre-eminent Scottish marine engineering and shipbuilding firm, responsible for building many notable and world-famous ships, such as the , the , the , the , the , and the...

 in Clydebank
Clydebank
Clydebank is a town in West Dunbartonshire, in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. Situated on the north bank of the River Clyde, Clydebank borders Dumbarton, the town with which it was combined to form West Dunbartonshire, as well as the town of Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire, and the Yoker and...

, West Dunbartonshire
West Dunbartonshire
West Dunbartonshire is one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland. Bordering onto the west of the City of Glasgow, containing many of Glasgow's commuter towns and villages as well as the city's suburbs, West Dunbartonshire also borders onto Argyll and Bute, Stirling, East...

, UK, being launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 on 16 April 1953 and commissioned on 11 January 1954.

The ship was designed with three masts, a 133 feet (40.5 m) foremast, a 139 feet (42.4 m) mainmast, and a 118 feet (36 m) mizzenmast. The top 20 feet (6.1 m) of the foremast and mainmast were hinged, to allow the ship to pass under bridges.

Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship
Hospital ship
A hospital ship is a ship designated for primary function as a floating medical treatment facility or hospital; most are operated by the military forces of various countries, as they are intended to be used in or near war zones....

 in time of war, although this has not yet been necessary.

History


During her career as Royal Yacht she conveyed the Queen, other members of the Royal Family
Royal family
A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...

, and various dignitaries on 696 foreign visits and 272 visits in British waters. In this time Britannia steamed 1087623 nautical miles (2,014,277.8 km).

On 20 July 1959, Britannia sailed the newly-opened Saint Lawrence Seaway
Saint Lawrence Seaway
The Saint Lawrence Seaway , , is the common name for a system of locks, canals and channels that permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the North American Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior. Legally it extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, including the Welland Canal...

 en route to Chicago where she docked, making the Queen the first British monarch
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 to visit the city. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 was aboard Britannia for part of this cruise; Presidents Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 and Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 also were later welcomed aboard the Yacht. Charles
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

 and Diana
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and an international charity and fundraising figure, as well as a preeminent celebrity of the late 20th century...

, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise aboard Britannia in 1981. The ship also evacuated over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 in 1986.

Replacement


In 1997, John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

's Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 government committed itself to replacing the Royal Yacht if re-elected, while the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 declined to disclose its plans for the vessel. Following Labour's victory on 1 May 1997
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 it was announced that the vessel would be retired and no replacement would be built. The Conservative government argued that the cost of the vessel was justified by its role in foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 and promoting British interests abroad, particularly through conferences held by British Invisibles. When cancelling the replacement of the vessel, the new Labour government argued that the expenditure could not be justified given the other pressures on the defence budget (from which it would be funded and maintained). Proposals for the construction of a new royal yacht, perhaps financed through a loan or by the Sovereign's own funds, have since made little headway.

The Royal Yacht's last foreign mission was to convey the last governor of Hong Kong
Governor of Hong Kong
The Governor of Hong Kong was the head of the government of Hong Kong during British rule from 1843 to 1997. The governor's roles were defined in the Hong Kong Letters Patent and Royal Instructions...

, Chris Patten
Chris Patten
Christopher Francis Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes, CH, PC , is the last Governor of British Hong Kong, a former British Conservative politician, and the current chairman of the BBC Trust....

 (now The Lord Patten of Barnes), and the Prince of Wales
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

 away from Hong Kong after its handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. Britannia was decommissioned on 11 December 1997.

Retirement


There was some controversy over the siting of the ship, with some arguing that she would be better moored on the Clyde, where she was built, than in Edinburgh, with which the yacht had few links. However, her positioning in Leith coincided with a redevelopment of the harbour area, and the advent of Scottish devolution.

Her Majesty the Queen attended the decommissioning, along with most of the senior members of the Royal Family, and the normally impassive monarch famously shed a tear publicly after disembarking for the last time.

Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection
National Historic Fleet, Core Collection
The National Historic Fleet, Core Collection is a list of museum ships located in the United Kingdom, under the National Historic Ships register.The vessels on the National Historic Fleet are distinguished by:...

, Britannia is now permanently moored as a five-star visitor attraction in the historic Port of Leith
Leith
-South Leith v. North Leith:Up until the late 16th century Leith , comprised two separate towns on either side of the river....

, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland, and is cared for by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a registered Scottish charity.

Entrance to the yacht is via the Ocean Terminal
Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh
Ocean Terminal in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland is a shopping centre, designed by Sir Terence Conran.It is built on former industrial docklands on the north side of the city at the edge of the boundary between formerly separate ports of Newhaven and Leith. The land was formerly occupied by the Henry...

 development, and over 250,000 people visit Britannia every year. She is also one of the UK's top evening events venues. On 18 May 2006, the Swiss-born Hollywood star and legendary first Bond girl
Bond girl
A Bond girl is a character or actress portraying a love interest, of James Bond in a film, novel, or video game. They occasionally have names that are double entendres or puns, such as "Pussy Galore", "Plenty O'Toole", "Xenia Onatopp", or "Holly Goodhead"...

, Ursula Andress
Ursula Andress
Ursula Andress is a Swiss actress and a sex symbol of the 1960s. She is known for her roles as Bond girl Honey Ryder in Dr...

, celebrated her 70th birthday on board the Royal Yacht. On 29 July 2011, a cocktail party was held on board the Britannia for Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips
Zara Phillips
Zara Anne Elizabeth Phillips, MBE is the second child and only daughter of Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips and is 13th in the line of succession to the throne...

 and her husband Mike Tindall
Mike Tindall
Michael James Tindall, MBE is an English rugby player who plays outside centre for Gloucester Rugby and has captained the England team...

 to celebrate their upcoming wedding; the yacht had been hired for the occasion.

A retired Rolls-Royce Phantom V
Rolls-Royce Phantom V
The Phantom V was a large, ultra-exclusive four-door saloon made by Rolls-Royce from 1959 to 1968.Based on the Silver Cloud II, it shared a V8 engine and General Motors Hydramatic automatic gearbox with its smaller sibling. Rolls-Royce assembled the cars' chassis and drivetrains with bodies made to...

 state car, owned by the royal family in the 1960s, is on display in the purpose-built garage aboard Britannia. Other highlights of the tour of the five decks that are open to the public include the Queen's Bedroom (behind a glass wall), and the State Dining Room. The Royal Deck Tea Room opened in 2009.

The 1936 racing yacht Bloodhound
Bloodhound (yacht)
Bloodhound is a 19.2-metre ocean racing yacht. She was designed by Charles E. Nicholson and built by Camper and Nicholsons in 1936...

, once owned by the Queen, is now berthed alongside Britannia. Bloodhound was one of the most successful ocean-racing yachts ever built and was also the yacht on which both the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal learned to sail. The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust bought Bloodhound in early 2010 and she is the centrepiece of a new exhibition focusing on the Royal Family's passion for sailing. Visitors can view Bloodhound from a specially built pontoon. (From 2011 Bloodhound will be away sailing during July and August, and will not be alongside Britannia).

Flag Officers Royal Yachts

  • Vice-Admiral Sir Conolly Abel Smith
    Conolly Abel Smith
    Sir Edward Michael Conolly Abel Smith CB GCVO JP was a Vice Admiral in the British Royal Navy who served during World War I and World War II.-Biography:...

     1954–1958
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Dawnay 1958–1962
  • Rear-Admiral Sir Joseph Henley 1962–1965
  • Rear-Admiral Sir Patrick Morgan 1965–1970
  • Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Trowbridge
    Richard Trowbridge
    Rear Admiral Sir Richard John Trowbridge, KCVO , was Western Australia's twenty-fifth Governor from 25 November 1980 to 24 November 1983, and the last British-born vice-regal representative in Australia....

     1970–1975
  • Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Janion 1975–1981
  • Rear-Admiral Sir Paul Greening
    Paul Greening
    Rear Admiral Sir Paul Woollven Greening GCVO was a Royal Navy officer who became Naval Secretary.-Naval career:...

    , GCVO 1981–1985
  • Rear-Admiral Sir John Garnier 1985–1990
  • Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Woodard
    Robert Woodard
    Rear Admiral Sir Robert Woodard, KCVO, DL is a former Commander of the Royal Yacht Britannia.-Naval career:Educated at Lancing College, the school founded by his great-grandfather, Rev Nathaniel Woodard, Woodard joined the Royal Navy and specialised in aviation...

     1990–1995

See also

  • List of Royal Yachts of the United Kingdom
  • British Royal Train
    British Royal Train
    The Royal Train is a set of railway carriages dedicated for the use of the British Monarch, other members of the Royal Family, and their staff. The train enables members of the Royal Family to carry out busy schedules over an extended period, in a secure environment which minimises disruption and...

  • Air transport of the Royal Family and government of the United Kingdom

Sources


External links