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What Happened to the Royal Yacht Britannia?

The Royal Yacht Britannia was the former yacht of the British royal family. It was operational for 43 years, serving its time from 1954 to 1997. During its time, the Royal Yacht Britannia completed 1 million nautical miles of travel worldwide. Private yachts have been a part of the British monarch since King Charles II took the throne in 1660. The Royal Yacht Britannia was the 83rd yacht that belonged to the royal family. We will discuss several interesting facts about the yacht in detail. Let's get right to it.

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Royal Yacht Britannia

Where is the Royal Yacht Britannia?

Royal Yacht Britannia is currently located in Scotland. The exact location of the yacht is Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland. After completing 43 years of service, the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned and is currently on display for the public. It is said that more than 300,000 visitors visit the yacht every year.

Why was the Royal Yacht Britannia decommissioned

Why was the Royal Yacht Britannia decommissioned?

In 1994, the conservative British government led by then prime minister Major decided to decommission the Royal Yacht Britannia. The decision was made as a result of the massive cost that the government incurred in maintaining the yacht.

As the 1997 national elections in Britain were approaching, the maintenance of Yacht Britannia was becoming a hassle. Hence, when Tony Blair won the election, the fate of Royal Yacht Britannia was sealed, leading to its decommission.

“Looking back over 44 years, we can all reflect with great pride and gratitude upon this great ship. It has served the country, the Royal Navy and my family with such distinction.” – Queen Elizabeth II.

During the decommissioning ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were seen in tears as they expressed their emotional bond towards the yacht.

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Inside the Royal Yacht Britannia

Being a Royal yacht, it goes without saying that the yacht featured a luxurious interior. Many have argued that the yacht isn’t as luxurious as some yachts today. However, for the time it operated, the yacht had modern features and was ahead of its time.

Details of the Royal Yacht Britannia interior

Some photographs of the yacht revealed the royal entrance staircase, where the Queen was known to have welcomed her guests. The Anteroom, where Queen Elizabeth II and her guests would enjoy dinner while cruising.


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The staterooms of the yacht were designed to resemble that of a luxurious palace. What’s worth noting is that being a large yacht the size of a cruise line ship, the Royal Yacht Britannia was vastly spacious.

One of the highlights of the interior was the large dining area. The dining table could accommodate 32 guests. This should give you an idea of the sheer size and opulence of the yacht.

Another noteworthy detail of the interior was that the yacht was covered with artifacts that were gifted to the royal family from around the world. The yacht also featured an elevator that would operate from the upper deck to the shelter deck area where the bedrooms of the royal family members were located. These elevators were only to be used by the royal family members.


What happened to Royal Yacht Britannia

Construction of the Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia was built by John Brown & Co. shipyard in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire. The yacht was completed in 1953 and commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II the following year.

The entire ship was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in the event of a war. However, this particular aspect or capability of the royal yacht was never really used.

Why was the Royal Yacht Britannia decommissioned

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Dimensions and other specifications of Royal Yacht Britannia

Right off the bat, you will notice that the Royal Yacht Britannia was a large private yacht. The total length of the yacht is 412 ft. (126 meters). It has three masts: the foremast measuring 41 meters, the mainmast measuring 42 meters, and the mizzenmast measuring 36 meters.

The beam of the yacht measures 17 meters in length, and the draught max measure is 4.6 meters. It features two Pametrada steam engines that produce a combined power output of 12,000 horsepower.

The Royal Yacht Britannia could reach a top speed of 21.5 knots and could travel to a distance of 2,400 nautical miles at average speed. Overall, the yacht was capable of accommodating a total of 250 passengers.

Crew members of the Royal Yacht Britannia

A total of 21 officers and 250 royal yachtsmen were onboard the ship at all times. Royal navy officers would be appointed every two years to serve the royal family aboard the yacht. Some of the crew members included royal yachtsmen who had served on the ship for more than 20 years.

A statue of Ellie Norrell is built at the port where the ship is currently docked. This is to pay homage to his 34 years of service as a yachtsman. He was the longest-serving yachtsman of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Queen Elizabeth II Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia: The grand and majestic royal yacht

The Royal Yacht Britannia was operational for 43 years and is currently on display for the public to visit. It has become a museum now, which over 300,000 spectators are known to visit every year. After the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned, the royal family has not had another yacht yet.

Perhaps the royal family members are more dependent on luxury yacht charters to travel across different destinations. Similarly, Dubai yacht charter has also become increasingly popular among visitors to the city. Renting yachts is more convenient as opposed to owning luxury yachts. Therefore, the popularity of yacht charters has increased rapidly.


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