royalty queen elizabeth ii visit to the cayman islands

The Royal Yacht Britannia Has a Fascinating History—Here's Everything You Should Know

It doesn't get more majestic than Queen Elizabeth II's yacht.

“Britannia is special for a number of reasons,” Prince Phillip once said. “Almost every previous sovereign has been responsible for building a church, a castle, a palace or just a house. The only comparable structure in the present reign is Britannia. As such she is a splendid example of contemporary British design and technology.”

Although she retired from service in 1997, today the Britannia, one of many of the world's grandest yachts , is docked in Edinburgh, where she is open as a visitors’ attraction and host of private events. Below we give you all the Royal Yacht Britannia facts you might want to know, from who owns the yacht now to why she was decommissioned to how fast she is to how to get tickets to visit. Britannia was, after all, the one place the queen said she could “truly relax,” so why not see why for yourself?

queen royal yacht britannia in usa

Royal Yacht Britania Facts and History

On February 4, 1952, John Brown & Co shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland, received the order from the Admiralty to build a new Royal Yacht to travel the globe and double as a hospital ship in times of war, according to the royal yacht's website . King George VI passed away two days after, sadly, and so on April 16, 1953, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II announced the yacht’s new name as the ship was revealed.

"I name this ship Britannia,” she said. “I wish success to her and all who sail in her." Britannia was commissioned into the Royal Navy in January 1954 and by April of that year sailed into her first overseas port: Grand Harbour, Malta.

royal yacht britannia facts staircase

The queen and The Duke of Edinburgh worked with interior designer Sir Hugh Casson for the ship to serve as both a functional Royal Navy vessel and an elegant royal residence. Queen Elizabeth II selected deep blue for Britannia’s hull, instead of the more traditional black. Its Naval crew included 220 Yachtsmen, 20 officers, and three season officers—plus a Royal Marines Band of 26 men during Royal Tours.

All of them might have had to change uniform up to six times a day, so the laundry service on board worked nonstop. The yacht also engaged in British overseas trade missions known as Sea Days and made an estimated £3 billion for the Exchequer between 1991 and 1995 alone.

royal yacht britannia facts drawing room

The ship’s wheel was taken from King Edward VII’s racing yacht, also named Britannia, according to Boat International , and the 126-meter ship could reach speeds of 22.75 knots, or a seagoing cruising speed of 21 knots, according to Super Yacht Times . Other fun facts: The yacht could produce her own fresh water from sea water, and shouting was forbidden aboard to preserve tranquility, favoring hand signals for Naval orders instead.

royal yacht britannia facts dining room

Over the next 44 years, the Britannia would sail the equivalent of once around the world for each year, in total visiting 600 ports in 135 countries. Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones were the first of four couples to honeymoon on the ship in 1960, gifting them all privacy to sail to secluded locations. Prince Charles and Princess Diana followed in 1981 on the Mediterranean as well as Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips before them in 1973 in the Caribbean and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1986 in the Azores.

diana and william

For family vacations aboard the ship, games, treasure hunts, plays, and picnics were organized, and on warm days the children could play in an inflatable paddling pool on the Verandah Deck.

royal yacht britannia facts sun lounge

In the Sun Lounge, the queen especially enjoyed taking breakfast and afternoon tea with views through large picture windows, a space you can see replicated in the TV show The Crown. Although no filming took place on board the Britannia for the show, researchers ensured scenes aboard it were accurate. In the queen’s bedroom, the resemblance is seen down to the decorative wall light fittings and embroidered silk panel above her bed that had been specially commissioned.

queen crying at britannia

In 1997, the ship was decommissioned after the government decided the costs to refit it would be too great. On its final day in her service that followed a farewell tour around the U.K., the queen openly wept as the Band of HM Royal Marines played "Highland Cathedral."

"Looking back over 44 years we can all reflect with pride and gratitude upon this great ship which has served the country, the Royal Navy and my family with such distinction," Queen Elizabeth II said. All clocks on the ship stopped at 15:01, the exact time the Queen disembarked from the yacht for the final time, and they would remain at that time until the present.

royal yacht britannia facts clock

How to Tour the Royal Yacht Britania

Today the yacht is owned by Royal Yacht Britannia Trus t, and all revenue it generates goes to the yacht’s maintenance and preservation. Ticketed entry allows you to step into state rooms like the Sun Lounge, the State Dining Room and State Drawing Room, in addition to the working side of the ship in the Crew’s Quarters, Laundry and gleaming Engine Room. Along the way you will see original artifacts from the shop—95 percent of which is on loan from The Royal Collection.

the royal yacht britannia

How to Visit the Royal Britania

You can visit the Britannia any day of the year on Edinburgh’s waterfront. Hours vary by season, and you can find them listed and purchase tickets on the yacht’s website . Private tours are also available, and you can visit the Royal Deck Tearoom, where the Royal Family hosted cocktail parties and receptions, for drinks, meals and scones. Additionally, the Britannia hosts special ticketed events for New Year’s and other occasions, and event spaces can be booked as well.

While you are in Edinburgh, you can also stay on the Fingal , a neighboring yacht-turned-floating-hotel, which is a seven-minute walk from the Britannia, and dine at its Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar, which serves breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner, and cocktails.

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Secrets of the Royal Yacht Britannia

Town & Country took a tour of the famous vessel which served the royal family for more than 40 years and has reopened as a tourist attraction.

the royal yacht britannia

Wondering about the royal family's yacht as you watch this season of The Crown ? In light of its appearance on the Netflix series, we're resurfacing this story from 2021 :

While plans to build a successor to boost Britain’s trade continue to attract criticism, Britannia is once again attracting hordes of visitors after being forced to close because of COVID-19. And it’s no surprise, because from being able to look right into the Queen’s bedroom to learning about what life was like for the up to 220 yachtsmen on board, this is a boat with some fascinating stories to tell.

Town & Country went aboard to learn the secrets of this much-loved vessel. Here’s our pick of the best royal tales.

the royal yacht britannia is now open to visitors again following covid19 closures

The ship was altered with royal skirts in mind.

Many photographs of the Royal Yacht Britannia show the family waving from the Royal Bridge as the vessel departed from or arrived at its destination. And the bow of the ship was specially adapted to make sure these public moments did not reveal more than was intended. “The curved teak windbreak was a later feature, added for modesty’s sake, to prevent sea breezes from lifting royal skirts,” visitors to Britannia are told.

britannia exterior

It was a struggle to get the royal car on board.

When the 412-ft yacht was built in 1953, it was considered important that it had a garage to house the Queen’s Rolls Royce. However, getting the car on board was no easy feat. “First, the car, in its transporter, had to be hoisted onto the special track that is fitted into the deck. Even then, it could only be squeezed into the Garage by removing its bumpers,” Britannia’s guide notes. Thankfully, in later years the Queen usually traveled in a car from the country she was visiting which meant that the garage was eventually used as a beer store.

crown binnacle

Britannia was designed to avoid any peeking into the royal bedrooms.

Now, visitors to Britannia get a full view of the Queen and Prince Philip’s (separate) bedrooms, albeit through glass. However, when the ship was in use it was important that no-one could peek into these rooms. Pointing out that the windows looking into these areas are “higher than anywhere else on the Yacht,” Britannia’s guide explains: “By placing them at this height above the deck, any accidental glimpses into the royal bedrooms could be prevented.”

staff cubbies

There were lots of people on board—but not everyone traveled in style.

One of the most fascinating things about touring the yacht is looking into the living quarters—from the relatively luxurious rooms of the Queen and Prince Philip and the ship’s Admiral, to the officers’ comfortable sitting room and dining room, to the approximately 220 yachtsmen who lived, slept, and worked, as the guide describes “in fairly cramped conditions.” Tourists are told: “Britannia was a ship in which hierarchy was strongly defined.” And there were plenty of people to accommodate. Some 45 working members of the royal household accompanied the Queen on her overseas visits.

stairway

The Queen favored neutrals while Philip liked darker colors.

As the yacht was build with their use in mind, the Queen and Prince Philip both had a say in the ship’s design and as such, it gives a some insight into their taste. The Queen’s (single) bed has a specially-commissioned embroidered silk panel above it, and her room is decorated in pale and neutral colors. By contrast, Philip’s room features vibrant maroon linen and curtains and, at his request, his pillows, unlike the Queen’s “do not have lace on the borders.”

sundeck room

There is only one double bed.

The honeymoon suite on the yacht is opposite the Queen and Philip’s bedrooms. “This is the only room on Britannia with a double bed which was brought on board by Prince Charles when he honeymooned on the Yacht with Princess Diana,” tourists are told. “When the Royal Children were small, this bedrooms and the adjoining room were used as nursery suites.”

dining table

The royal children liked to eat jelly on board.

Food on board Britannia was prepared in three galleys—one for the yachtsmen, one for the officers and one for the royal household. Buckingham Palace chefs were flown out to prepare royal food and there was a room that, according to Britannia’s guide, was known as the Jelly Room “for it was in here that the royal children’s jellies were stored.”

dining room

There is a dance floor that hasn’t been used for 50 years.

The largest room on Britannia is the State Dining Room where lavish banquets were held. It could also be used as a cinema room. “The silver-grey carpet could also be rolled up to expose a wooden dance floor beneath, although the last time this was used was for Princess Anne’s 21st birthday celebrations,” the guide notes.

naval flags

Prince Philip kept a reminder of his naval career in his office.

Just like their separate bedrooms, the Queen and Philip had separate offices on board Britannia. Philip’s had a “specially designed display case,” the ship’s guide notes, in which he kept “a model of HMS Magpie, His Royal Highness’s first naval command.” The Duke of Edinburgh famously gave up his active naval career in 1951 to support his wife in her duties when King George VI’s health was ailing.

drawing room

The ship was ready for stormy seas.

The royal family and their guests relaxed in the drawing room, which featured a grand piano. The instrument was played by members of the family and even some of their famous guests, including composer Noel Coward. “The Welmar baby grand piano cost £350 when it was supplied in 1952, and is firmly bolted to the deck to stop it taking off in choppy seas,” tourists are told.

queen in turkey

Once the royal laundry turned blue.

Walking through the laundry at the end of the tour provides an insight into what was once a “hot and noisy environment.” Some 600 shirts could pass through the laundry in one day, with the royal family’s washing done on separate days to that of the crew. Britannia’s audio guide recounts “one occasion when the royal washing turned a delicate shade of blue, and Her Majesty’s Dresser was less than amused. The cause, it turned out, was a chemical reaction in the copper pipes, which was quickly remedied by adjusting the pH value of the water.”

laundry room

For more information and to book tickets visit royalyachtbrittania.co.uk

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Town & Country Contributing Editor Victoria Murphy has reported on the British Royal Family since 2010. She has interviewed Prince Harry and has travelled the world covering several royal tours. She is a frequent contributor to Good Morning America. Victoria authored Town & Country book The Queen: A Life in Pictures , released in 2021. 

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Truly Edinburgh

Visitor Guide & Content Hub

The Royal Yacht Britannia: history and visitor information

The Royal Yacht Britannia, now moored at Leith the port of Edinburgh, was once home to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her family,

yacht reale inglese britannia

©Mark Millar, Royal Yacht Britannia

The Role of the Royal Yacht Britannia in the British Royal Family

The yacht provided a sanctuary for the royal family offering them a respite from the demands of public life. It allowed them to escape the prying eyes of the media and enjoy moments of relaxation and privacy.

As they travelled the world it was, said the queen, the one place she could truly relax.

Today the world’s most famous yacht is an Edinburgh five-star visitor attraction and exclusive events venue.

the Royal Yacht Britannia history

Plans to build a new yacht to replace the ageing Victoria and Albert III had first been considered in 1938 during the reign of King George VI but in austere pre-war Britain, it didn’t seem appropriate.

However in 1951, with the king’s health failing, the government decided to push ahead with their plans for a new ship. Sadly King George died before the work was completed.

construction and design of the Royal Yacht Britannia

Like two of the other great ocean-going passenger liners, the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth II, the royal yacht’s life began on the River Clyde. 

Royal Yacht Britannia engine Room

It was built in John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank near Glasgow and launched on 16 April 1953.

Following sea trials, the ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy the following year.

It was the latest in a long line of royal yachts that stretched back to the seventeenth century when the Dutch gave the world’s first royal yacht Mary to Charles II as a gift.

Original designs of the ship had specified a dual role – a hospital ship to be used in times of conflict and a royal yacht. She was never used in the former capacity.

However, in 1986, during a voyage to Australia, without the Queen aboard, the ship diverted to Aden to help in the evacuation of those trapped on the beaches by an ongoing war in the region.

Over 1,000 terrified people were rescued and crammed into every available space.

Both the Queen and Prince Philip took a keen interest in the design of the vessel, working with Sir Hugh Casson on plans for the interior decorations.

The young couple selected fabrics, furniture and paintings, many of them taken from the Victoria and Albert III in an effort to keep costs under control.

The state apartments aft of the funnel were not extravagantly decorated.  Instead, they have a traditional ‘country house’ feel, particularly in the drawing room where chintz-covered armchairs and sofas sit on a plain silver-grey carpet overlaid by a magnificent Persian rug. 

A baby grand piano stood in the corner often providing after-dinner entertainment. Princesses Diana, Margaret and Alexandra were all known to enjoy playing. 

Famous guests aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia

Writer Brian Hoey reminds us of the night Sir Noel Coward came to dinner during a Caribbean cruise. 

“He literally sang for his supper, playing many of his own compositions into the wee small hours. Even on the royal yacht, there was no such thing as a free meal.” 

Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor also pulled up a chair in the State Dining Room.

Of course, they weren’t the only well-known people to visit the yacht.

Over the years Rajiv Gandhi, Sir Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela were only a few of the others on a long list of the world’s most powerful people who enjoyed royal hospitality.

yacht reale inglese britannia

© Mark Millar, Royal Yacht Britannia

Supper’ in Britannia’s dining room could be a splendid occasion. In preparation for a state banquet, Royal Navy stewards would lay the burnished mahogany table with military precision. 

They would carefully place the floral decorations, candelabras and exquisite crystal wine glasses.

With a ruler in hand, they measured the precise position of each shining piece of silver cutlery. Menus were printed and seating plans were discussed before Britannia set sail. 

The Queen and Prince Philip had their own bedrooms and sitting rooms, decorated to reflect their personal taste. The Queen preferred chintz and floral while the Duke liked the more functional wood panelling. 

Royal Yacht Britannia, bridge

This elegant lady became a favourite with all generations of the royal family but particularly the Queen who always said it was the only place she could truly be at ease.

Honeymoons at Sea

Four royal couples opted for a honeymoon at sea, onboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.

They were Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.

Princess Diana

A young Princess Diana was happiest when proceedings were kept informal, she was a very special guest as far as the naval crew were concerned. 

On one memorable occasion, she was found in the Junior Ratings Mess leading the crew, or yachtsmen, as they were called, in a rendition of What , Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor. 

One remark in particular sums up the feeling and affection the crew had for her.  “There are 275 men aboard and every one of them is in love with Princess Diana.”

It’s fitting that Prince William and Prince Harry, who often spent their summer holidays on trips to the Western Isles of Scotland loved the freedom and privacy the royal yacht allowed them.

Ambassador for Britain

Beyond its role as a private residence, it was an unofficial ambassador for Britain serving as a platform for diplomatic and official engagements.

Britannia undertook numerous state visits, carrying the royal family and government officials to countries around the world. The yacht became a powerful symbol of British soft power, projecting an image of elegance, grace, and stability to the international community.

On what became known as Sea Days, it would throw open the doors to the world of commerce.

That allowed businessmen to showcase the best of British craftsmanship and design and promote their companies and products to the world.

The yacht became a floating showroom for British excellence, helping to boost exports and attract foreign investment.

The Overseas Trade Board estimated that between 1991 and 1995 the exchequer benefited to the tune of £3 billion.

Decommissioning and the transformation into a visitor attraction

After over four decades of service, the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned in Portsmouth on 11 December 1997.

During that long service, the ship sailed over one million nautical miles stopping at 600 ports in 135 countries. 

Rather than being sold or scrapped, the decision was made to preserve the yacht as a visitor attraction, allowing the public to experience first-hand the grandeur and history of this wonderful vessel.

At the Paying-Off Ceremony, the queen clearly sad at the occasion, said: “Looking back over forty-four years we can all reflect with pride and gratitude upon this great ship which has served the country, the Royal Navy and my family with such distinction.” 

WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF A VISIT TO THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA?

  • Enjoy freshly made food and a warm welcome at the Royal Deck Tearoom.
  • Visit the gleaming Engine Room to inspect the John Brown built turbines which drove the ship over a million nautical miles in its many years of service.
  • The Wheelhouse , not on the Bridge as you might expect, is on the deck below. Yachtsmen unable to see ahead followed instructions from the officers through voice pipes.
  • Admire the lavish State Dining Room , decorated with gifts received on foreign visits.
  • Visit the Officers’ Wardroom , sometimes compared to a gentleman’s club, where officers would relax after work. Traditionally the captain did not dine there unless invited.
  • Crew’s Quarters: These are much more cramped than the royal and officers’ quarters. They give a glimpse into the living conditions of the working crew. You can also visit the sick bay and the laundry room.

Special events

The Britannia also hosts a series of special events throughout the year, including music evenings and cocktail nights. It is also available for private hire, with the State Dining Room being a popular venue for dinners and receptions.

VISITOR INFORMATION

If you’re visiting during the busiest periods and just turn up, the queues can be long, so be prepared for a wait.

However, many of the available tour options will let you avoid queuing and you can book online on the official Britannia website.

But if you prefer to explore yourself, there are free audio guides in 30 languages to help you find your way around. A range of concession prices is also available.

Can you stay overnight on the Royal Yacht Britannia?

While you cannot stay overnight, you can at the nearby Fingal, a floating hotel moored nearby.

This unique hotel is also owned by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust and is one of E dinburgh’s luxury hotels.

  • Also nearby is the newest Edinburgh whisky distillery –the Port of Leith Distillery – due to open in the summer of 2023. (The distillery opened in October 2023).

For further information on admission times and help planning your visit, go to the Britannia website.

I visited the Royal Yacht Britannia, the royal family's luxurious private cruise ship known as a 'floating palace.' Take a look inside.

  • The Royal Yacht Britannia was the royal family's private yacht from 1953 to 1997.
  • The ship is now a museum open to the public in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • The tour shows the Queen's bedroom, state rooms used for entertaining, and crew bunks.

The Royal Yacht Britannia was the royal family's private yacht from 1953 to 1997.

yacht reale inglese britannia

With its many royal family vacations and official tours, the yacht logged over 1 million miles , the equivalent of one trip around the world for each of its 44 years at sea.

The Queen once said that "Britannia is the one place where I can truly relax."

yacht reale inglese britannia

The Labour government decommissioned the ship in 1997 due to its high operation cost of £11 million each year, Reuters reported . That's equivalent to about $23 million today.

At the decommissioning ceremony, the Queen  shed a rare public tear .

The ship has made several appearances in Netflix's "The Crown," including season five .

The yacht is now a museum open to the public in Edinburgh, Scotland.

yacht reale inglese britannia

On a recent trip to Scotland , I booked a ticket for the Royal Yacht Britannia museum, which costs £18.50 ($23) for adults.

The entrance is located inside the Ocean Terminal shopping center in Edinburgh.

Before boarding the yacht, visitors walk through a museum detailing the boat's history and connection to the royal family.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The five-story ship was a royal residence as well as a Royal Navy ship, with a full-time staff of more than 240 royal yachtsmen and officers.

The museum displays photos of the royal family's life aboard the ship, as well as items like crew uniforms.

Then, a walkway with more photos leads to the deck of the boat.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The ship is docked on the water just outside the shopping center.

I listened to the audio tour of the ship on my phone by scanning a QR code.

yacht reale inglese britannia

There were also separate listening devices available.

Each room of the ship had a number that you could type in and press "play" to hear about your surroundings in an array of languages.

The first stop was the bridge, the main control point of the yacht.

yacht reale inglese britannia

In this small space, officers navigated the seas and recorded data in the ship's logbooks.

Outside, the flag deck is the highest point on the ship.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Britannia had three masts, and different flags were used to communicate with other ships on the water.

The admiral's cabin and suite is the most spacious on the ship, aside from the royal apartments.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The admiral's accommodations featured a day room, bedroom, bathroom, and pantry. The sofa and armchairs in the dayroom are over 100 years old and came from the previous royal yacht, Victoria and Albert III.

The royal family often sunbathed, played deck hockey, or swam in a collapsible swimming pool on the Veranda Deck.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Part of the yacht's royal quarters, the deck was also used for receptions and group photos.

Prince Philip occasionally set up his easel on the deck to paint.

Overlooking the Veranda Deck, the Sun Lounge was one of the Queen's favorite rooms on the ship.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Queen Elizabeth would often take her breakfast and afternoon tea in the Sun Lounge.

The Queen's bedroom on the Royal Yacht Britannia featured bed linens that once belonged to Queen Victoria.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The embroidered silk panel above the Queen's bed, commissioned in 1953, cost £450 ($560, or $6,250 in today's money).

Her sheets were embossed with "HM The Queen."

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had separate bedrooms connected by an adjoining door.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Each room had its own bathroom.

Philip's bedroom featured red linens, and he requested pillowcases without lace trim.

yacht reale inglese britannia

A button next to each of their beds would summon a royal steward.

Across the hall, the Honeymoon Suite was the only room onboard with a double bed.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The double bed was requested by then-Prince Charles when he honeymooned with Princess Diana in 1981.

The room was also used as a nursery when the royal children were young.

The Anteroom served as a recreational space for the officers, off-limits to the rest of the crew.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Officers would spend their time here listening to the radio and playing board games.

The royal family occasionally dined in the adjoining Wardroom.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Britannia's 19 officers ate meals here, accompanied by the Royal Marines Band.

Britannia has three galleys, which are still working kitchens today.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The galleys prepare food for the Royal Deck Tea Room and events hosted on the ship.

The Royal Deck Tea Room offers an extensive menu of soups, sandwiches, scones, and other treats for visitors to the museum.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The royal family once used the space to entertain guests and play deck games.

The state dining room is the largest room on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, and many other world leaders dined here with the royal family.

The placement of each utensil was measured with a ruler.

Just off the state dining room, the Queen's sitting room served as her office.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Here, the Queen would meet with her press secretaries and prepare for royal visits.

On the opposite side of the hall, the Duke of Edinburgh had his own sitting room.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Both Philip and Charles used the room as a study. Philip kept a model of his first naval command, the HMS Magpie, above his desk.

The telephones connecting the sitting rooms to each other and their private secretaries' offices are identical to the phones used in Buckingham Palace.

The large Drawing Room and connecting Anteroom could accommodate up to 250 guests.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The Drawing Room featured an electric fireplace and cozy floral furniture. When it wasn't being used as a reception space during formal events, the royal family used it to relax and play games on the card tables.

Petty officers and Royal Marine sergeants kicked back in their living quarters, also known as the mess.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Petty officers would occasionally entertain the Queen and other royal family members here.

The crew bunks weren't as glamorous as the royal apartments.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Each bunk folded up into a seat, and crew members stored their possessions in lockers.

Britannia's NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) shop sold souvenirs and sweets, as well as essentials like toothpaste.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Diana once bought Prince William a Britannia souvenir shirt from the shop. Today, it sells homemade fudge to museum guests.

The ship's sick bay and operating theater still feature the original furnishings from the 1950s.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The ship's doctor attended to crew members, while the Queen's royal surgeon traveled with her on voyages.

Britannia's laundry room could reach temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit as it washed up to 600 shirts in one day.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The royal family's laundry was done on different days than the crew's laundry.

All of the clocks onboard the Royal Yacht Britannia are stopped at 3:01 p.m.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The clocks are frozen at the  time the Queen stepped off the ship for the last time  during its decommissioning ceremony in December 1997.

The tour concludes in a gift shop full of royal souvenirs.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Amid the Britannia-themed mugs, pens, and aprons, the gift shop also sold replicas of royal jewelry.

There's even a photo-op at the end of the tour where you can practice your royal wave.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The tour was full of surprising facts about royal life and travels, and I couldn't believe that we actually got to see inside Queen Elizabeth's bedroom on the ship. It's definitely worth a visit.

yacht reale inglese britannia

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The Royal Yacht Britannia

Experience Tripadvisor's Best UK Attraction 2023. Follow in the footsteps of Royalty and explore this floating Royal residence with a fascinating audio tour of five decks (available in over 30 languages).

Tripadvisor's Best UK Attraction 2023, Best UK Attraction (Which magazine readers) and Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice Best of the Best award winner 

Visit this award-winning attraction, just two miles from Edinburgh's city centre at Ocean Terminal.  The Royal Yacht Britannia played host to some of the world’s most famous people, from Nelson Mendela to Winston Churchill, but above all was home for the British Royal Family for over 40 years. Now you can discover the heart and soul of this most special of Royal residences.

You'll receive a truly warm welcome at Britannia's Visitor Centre before you board this famous ship where you will discover the history of Royal Yachts and view displays and historical photographs of Britannia's fascinating past before boarding Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace.

What will you see?

  • Tour Britannia’s five decks
  • Feel like the captain of the ship in the Bridge
  • Follow in the footsteps of Royalty through the State Apartments
  • See Queen Elizabeth II's favourite room- the Sun Lounge
  • Discover below decks in the Crew’s Quarters
  • Admire a tour highlight, the gleaming Engine Room
  • Take in the Royal Sailing Exhibition
  • Enjoy soups, sandwiches, cakes and scones in the Royal Deck Tearoom and admire the stunning waterfront views.

The tour is available in:

  • Audio handset tour, available in over 30 languages
  • Children’s audio tour
  • Audio tour for those with sight loss
  • ASL and BSL tablet
  • Braille script ​​​​​​ ​​​​​

Complete the Britannia experience with a visit to the  Gift Shop in Ocean Terminal, where you’ll find exclusive Britannia souvenirs, china, toys, gifts and nautical items.

Berthed just moments away, Britannia's sister ship, floating hotel Fingal, offers 22 luxurious cabins inspired by the former Northern Lighthouse Board tender's rich maritime heritage. For further information, visit Fingal's website .

HELPFUL INFORMATION:

-  All weather experience -  Highly accessible for wheelchair users, single buggies and those with limited mobility. Read our accessibility statement here . -  Free Annual Pass for 12 months admission included -  The entrance to Britannia is temporarily on the Ground Floor of Ocean Terminal shopping centre.

How to get here?

By tram: Take the tram to stop 'Ocean Terminal' (Newhaven direction).

By bus:  Regal Tour Bus and Lothian Buses 10, 16, 34 and 35 run from the city centre towards Ocean Terminal. Majestic Tour buses depart regularly from Waterloo Place / St Andrew Square in the centre of Edinburgh. The Majestic Tour is operated by Edinburgh Bus Tours .

By train:  Arrive in the city centre at Edinburgh Waverley Train Station, just 2 miles from Britannia. 

By car: Follow signs to Edinburgh and Leith or North Edinburgh. Then follow brown tourist signs for Britannia. Free car parking at Ocean Terminal (level C is nearest). For satnav our postcode is EH6 6JJ. Go inside the shopping centre for Britannia’s entrance and the start of the tour. By plane: Britannia is approximately 40 minutes’ drive from Edinburgh Airport.

For further information on finding Britannia, please see here .  

OPENING TIMES

Please check the Britannia website for full opening times and prices. EVENING EVENTS Exclusive dinners and receptions can be hosted on board. Call our events team on +44 (0) 131 555 8800 and see how we can create your event of a lifetime, or visit the events section of our website .

PRIVATE TOURS A private tour on board The Royal Yacht Britannia is an exclusive experience, giving you access to Britannia’s five decks, and a unique insight into the history of the Royal Yacht and how the Royal Family and crew lived and worked on board. Both Morning and Evening tours are available. Call our events team on +44 (0) 131 555 8800 or for more information visit click here . PRESERVING BRITANNIA Britannia is cared for by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust , a self-funding charity registered in Scotland (SC028070). By visiting Britannia you will be helping us to preserve this important piece of history for future generations.

www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk See our reviews on Tripadvisor Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram

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Transport and Parking

  • On Public Transport Route
  • Public Parking Nearby

Accessibility

  • Hearing Loop
  • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
  • Lift or stairlift
  • Large print, braille or audio
  • Level Access
  • Wheelchair access throughout
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchairs or mobility aids provided
  • Suitable for visitors with limited mobility

Dietary Options

  • Gluten Free

Typical Prices

  • Baby Changing Facilities
  • Public Toilet Facilities
  • Lunch Available
  • Licensed Bar
  • Cafe or Restaurant

Payment Methods

  • American Express
  • Diners Card
  • Credit Card
  • Coastal Location
  • Sea/Loch View

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The Royal Yacht Britannia : A History of Queen Elizabeth II’s Favorite Palace

By Lisa Liebman

The Royal Yacht Britannia in Hong Kong during its last voyage in July of 1997.

The christening of The Royal Yacht Britannia serves as a cheeky season opener to  The Crown . Black-and-white Pathé News–style footage shows a soon-to-be-crowned Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) cheered on by shipbuilders as she launches her new 412-foot yacht. “I hope that this brand-new vessel, like your brand-new queen, will prove to be dependable and constant. Capable of weathering any storm,” she says about the royal replacement for the  Victoria and Albert III . By the series’ season finale, set 44 years later, both the sovereign and the floating palace she christened  Britannia will have hit rough seas—the cost of repairing the creaky old vessel and the modern role of the monarchy both in question. Ultimately, the yacht that undertook 968 official voyages all over the world, hosting dignitaries—including 13 US presidents—at receptions and banquets, was dry-docked near Edinburgh, Scotland, where it continues to be a popular tourist attraction. Here are some of the most buoyant facts about the palace the Queen famously said was “the one place where I can truly relax.”

The sun room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1981.

The sun room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1981. 

In a nod to the country’s post-war austerity, Elizabeth scaled back the design of the ship that her father, King George VI, had commissioned just two days before he died. Rather than following the opulent plan laid out by the Scottish firm McInnes Gardner & Partners, she opted for the understated elegance envisioned by architect Sir Hugh Casson, who described “running a lawn mower over the Louis XVIl adornments” in favor of simple white walls, lilac-gray carpeting, and “a bit of gilding in grand places.” Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Phillip, were said to have personally chosen the furniture—much of it, including linens, recycled from the  Victoria and Albert —fabrics (florals, chintz, toile), and paintings. 

Prince Charles and Princess Diana on board the Royal Yacht Britannia as they prepare to depart on their honeymoon cruise...

Prince Charles and Princess Diana on board the Royal Yacht Britannia as they prepare to depart on their honeymoon cruise in 1981.

As a former Royal Navy Commander, Prince Phillip also saw to the ship’s technical details, and his Bluebottle racing yacht inspired the Britannia ’s navy-hued hull. Outer decks were made of two-inch Burmese teak. The steering wheel was reclaimed from Britannia ’s namesake, King Edward VII’s 1893 racing yacht; a wheelhouse wheel came from George V’s racing yacht; and a gold-and-white binnacle (housing the ship’s compass) was salvaged from King George III’s yacht and installed on the Veranda deck. Fittings from former royal ships were also reused. 

The drawing room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1978.

The drawing room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1978. 

The 4,000-ton yacht had a crew of 220 Royal Yachtsmen who lived on board, about 45 household staff, and occasionally a 26-member Royal Marine embarked to entertain dignitaries. The monarch often welcomed guests from the ship’s grand staircase. (Stairs leading from the Veranda to the Royal deck were sometimes transformed into a water slide for the kids.)  Britannia ’s apartments were designed like those of a first-class ocean liner. A 56-seat state dining room, where many of the gifts given to the monarch (a wood-carved shark from Pitcairn Island, a bejeweled gold statue from Bangkok) were displayed, was the scene of formal dinners with guests such as Sir Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Mandela, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. More intimate gatherings were held in the Queen’s official reception room, a smaller state drawing room with floral upholstered pieces, simple wood tables, an electric fireplace, and a Welmar baby grand piano bolted to the deck—played by everyone from Sir Noël Coward to Princesses Diana and Margaret. The teak-clad sun lounge, with rattan furniture and a toile loveseat, was Elizabeth’s favorite place—where she had her breakfast, afternoon tea, and also enjoyed her favorite Dubonnet and gin cocktails.

The Queens sitting room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1981.

The Queen’s sitting room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1981. 

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A ship elevator reserved for royal use moved between the Upper and Shelter Decks. The latter is where four Royal Apartments (bedrooms), including the Queen and Prince Phillip’s connecting compartments, were located. Hers featured florals, his had red accents. Elizabeth’s understated Upper Deck private sitting room, done in pastels and neutrals, served as the office where she conducted state business. Phillip used his sitting room, with its wood desk facing a model of his first command, the HMS Magpie , as his study. Below deck there was a wine cellar, as well as a cargo hold that could carry a barge, speed- and sailboats, plus a royal Range Rover and Rolls-Royce. The yacht could also be converted into a hospital (though it never was).

The Queen shed a tear at the decommissioning ceremony for thye Royal Yacht Britannia.

The Queen shed a tear at the decommissioning ceremony for thye Royal Yacht Britannia.

As depicted in  The Crown, Britannia ’s final official trip was to Hong Kong in 1997, where Prince Charles attended the handover of the territory to China. By then, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s administration was complaining that the £11 million a year needed to keep the boat afloat couldn’t be justified. With Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, and all of their children in attendance,  Britannia was decommissioned at a ceremony in Portsmouth, England on December 11, 1997, with the monarch seen wiping away a tear. The yacht, now docked in Leith, Scotland, is open to the public as a museum and events space. (Prior to their wedding, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips’s daughter Zara Phillips and her fiancé Mike Tindall had a celebration there.) Visitors will note that every clock on board reads 3:01, the exact time the Queen disembarked her beloved  Britannia for the final time on that December day.

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yacht reale inglese britannia

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The Royal Yacht Britannia: How The Queen created a floating home and theatre of state

  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Royal family

The Queen was the best-travelled monarch in British history. John Goodall looks at the story of the Royal Yacht Britannia, now permanently moored in Leith, Edinburgh. Photographs by Paul Highnam.

‘I name this ship Britannia . I wish success to her and to all who sail in her.’

With these words, on April 16, 1953, The Queen released a bottle of ‘Empire wine’ — a post-war economy in place of Champagne — to launch the Royal Yacht Britannia . The name of the ship had been kept secret and, hearing it declared, the assembled crowd gave a huge roar of approval. To the sound of more cheers, and as a band played Rule Britannia , the 4,000-ton hull, No 691, slid slowly down the slipway from the Clydebank shipyard of John Brown & Co, into the river, and was towed by tugs to the fitting-out basin upstream.

From as early as 1939, bids had been invited to construct a new Royal Yacht capable of long-distance travel. War and austerity put paid to the initiative, but a visit by George VI to South Africa in 1947 on board the battleship HMS Vanguard revived it. As The Queen commented at Britannia ’s launch, George VI ‘felt most strongly, as I do, that a yacht was a necessity and not a luxury for the Head of our great British Commonwealth, between whose countries the sea is no barrier, but the natural and indestructible highway’.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Fig 1: The Sun Lounge. The wall-mounted telephone to the right is identical to those installed in Buckingham Palace. The Royal Yacht Britannia. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

In October 1951, therefore, the Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced the government’s intention to build a yacht capable of conversion into a hospital ship in time of war. A General Election, however, almost immediately passed responsibility for realising the £2.1 million project to a Conservative government under Sir Winston Churchill and the King authorised the commission in writing on February 5, 1952, the day before he died. Britannia claims to be the 83rd Royal Yacht in succession to Mary , which was presented to Charles II by the people of Amsterdam at the Restoration in 1660. The first steam-powered Royal Yacht was launched in 1843.

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Both the Duke of Edinburgh — himself, of course, a naval officer with a technical interest in, and understanding of, ships — and The Queen were closely involved in the design and decoration of Britannia . As the Duke explained in an interview in 1995, she ‘was rather special as far as we were concerned because we were involved from the very beginning in organising the design and furnishing and equipping and hanging the pictures and everything else… All the other places we live in had been built by predecessors’. This close involvement makes the royal apartment within the yacht one of the most coherent surviving expressions of the royal couple’s personal interests and taste.

One outward mark of their involvement in Britannia is the deep blue of the hull ( Fig 2 ) , which is borrowed — together with its enlivening band of gold leaf — from the Dragon Class racing yacht Bluebottle , which was a wedding gift in 1948. The main interiors of the yacht, meanwhile, were created with the assistance of Sir Hugh Casson, who had recently been knighted for his work as director of architecture for the Festival of Britain.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Fig 3: The State Dining Room. Hung on the walls are gifts from around the world. The Royal Yacht Britannia. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

By Casson’s account — recorded in a series of interviews in early 1990 for the National Life Stories of the British Library Oral History Project — the dockyard had initially turned to the established local firm of McInnes Gardner to furnish the yacht. The Duke of Edinburgh, however, judged its Louis XVII-style proposals as too much in the character of a transatlantic liner. He requested something simpler and asked the furniture designer Gordon Russell for advice. Russell suggested Casson on the strength of his Festival of Britain experience. By happy coincidence, Casson loved liners, having spent part of his childhood in Southampton.

Casson had never properly met his royal clients before this commission and time was of the essence. After a sequence of interviews with the Duke of Edinburgh, the Admiralty and a representative of McInnes Gardner, he quickly produced a series of large watercolour sketches of the main rooms that were posted off to the Royal Family at Balmoral. That done, and in company with John Wright, an architect and furniture designer in his office, he visited the previous Royal Yacht — Victoria and Albert III , built in 1899 and retired in 1937 — to salvage fittings. These included her picture collection, china, silver, linen and glass. Two ornate compasses or binnacles were also rescued, but these, in fact, originally came from a yet earlier vessel, Queen Victoria’s Royal George .

yacht reale inglese britannia

Fig 4: The State Drawing Room, with its regulation electric fire. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

Soon afterwards, Casson, Wright and a Mr McInnes Gardner of the eponymous Glasgow firm, were summoned to Balmoral, where they arrived one morning at breakfast time. There was an informal meeting soon afterwards, with The Queen sitting by the fire and Princess Anne combing her hair, at which his royal clients professed themselves delighted with the designs. They requested, however, that the watercolours be laid out for further discussion after the immediate business of the morning, a church service.

What discussion the drawings elicited is unclear, but Casson makes it apparent that the Duke of Edinburgh was otherwise a crucial point of connection in the design process and that the choice of fabrics was taken by the royal couple. The next day, Casson was dismissed with an instruction to get on with the work and send samples of materials. He was also given a brace of pheasant bearing a prominent label ‘From The Queen’, which he hung ostentatiously from the luggage rack of his train carriage as he travelled south.

Casson’s stated aim in Britannia was to create a country-house interior in the yacht, although the conscious simplicity perhaps more powerfully evokes the residence of a British colonial governor or High Commissioner. He proposed a single colour carpet throughout, white walls, polished mahogany doors and some gilding of highlights. His accomplished and loosely worked watercolour sketches have the effect of bringing the picture hang and the furniture to the fore, setting chintz patterns and pastel tones against the clean lines and bold details of the architecture. To a striking degree, and despite repair and renovation, the interiors of the yacht still resemble these views.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Fig 5: The grand staircase connecting the royal bedroom suites with the state rooms. The Royal Yacht Britannia. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

Incorporated within the Upper Deck are the State Drawing Room — the fireplace within it had to be fitted with an electric fire because of naval regulations ( Fig 4 ) — and the State Dining Room ( Fig 3 ) . Between them is an anteroom and the main stair ( Fig 5 ) , as well as sitting rooms for the Duke and The Queen ( Fig 6 ) . The stairwell also incorporates the formal entrance to the yacht, making this the hallway of the royal apartment. On the Shelter Deck above are the private family rooms, including the Duke’s and The Queen’s bedrooms ( Fig 8 ) , each with its own bathroom. There is also the Sun Lounge ( Fig 1 ) , a room with large windows that opens onto the verandah deck towards the stern.

The royal apartment occupies about a third of the yacht and has its own connected cabins, services and galley. All the remainder was organised in the manner of a working Royal Navy vessel. To man the ship was a crew of up to 220 yachtsmen and 21 officers under the command of an admiral or commodore (rather than a captain). The crew was divided into several departments, including a Royal Marine band. There is a bridge, wheelhouse, accommodation, wardroom and messes, a sick-bay and storage. The diesel engines drove two geared steam turbines that gave her a top speed of 22½ knots and a range of about 2,196 miles at 20 knots.

Much about the life of Britannia was unusual. The uniform was distinctive, with such details as a silk bow at the back of the trousers. Gym shoes were worn on deck and, to avoid noise, there was no tannoy system or shouting. Instead telephones and hand signals were used to communicate. Because of its role as a floating palace and the need for impeccable clothes, the laundry was particularly important. In addition to the Royal Barge — the original from Victoria and Albert III was replaced in 1964 by one built by Camper Nicholson — the yacht also had a garage for either a Land Rover or The Queen’s Phantom V Rolls Royce.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Fig 6: The Queen’s Sitting Room, with its desk. The Royal Yacht Britannia. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

In November 1953, as work to Britannia was still under way, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh set off on their first and longest Commonwealth tour aboard the passenger liner Gothic . Their new yacht set out to meet them as they returned, carrying the young Prince of Wales and Princess Anne. The family party embarked from Tobruk on May 1, 1954 and returned to Britain, picking up Churchill (and Casson) in the Solent. Having reviewed the fleet, Britannia sailed into the Port of London to public welcome. A painting of the yacht passing beneath Tower Bridge on that occasion was later hung in pride of place over the drawing-room fireplace.

For the next 44 years, Britannia worked busily in the service of Britain and the Commonwealth and played a role in more than 700 royal visits. In the process, she served not only as a means of transport, but as a home and a theatre of state. One of her regular duties was an annual summer cruise taking the Royal Family from the Cowes Regatta off the Isle of Wight to the Western Isles of Scotland. She also acted as a honeymoon retreat for several royal couples. The Queen was seen to relax on board in a way that was impossible elsewhere.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Fig 7: The engine room, with its immaculate machinery. Britannia sailed her millionth mile in February 1994. The Royal Yacht Britannia. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

In 1994, when on a Caribbean trip, Britannia passed her millionth nautical mile and there was a celebration in the engine room ( Fig 7 ) , where The Queen and the Duke cut a ribbon and a cake. By then, however, she was becoming a dated vessel and, in 1995, a decision was taken by the Conservative Government of John Major that Britannia should not sail beyond 1997. This opened up discussions on the creation of a ‘cost-effective elegant royal yacht’, a project rather awkwardly compressed into the acronym CELERY. The idea of a replacement for Britannia was eventually incorporated into the Conservative manifesto of 1997, but with the Opposition never having been consulted, the provision of a new yacht now became a heated political issue.

Following the Labour general election victory that year, therefore, the idea of replacing Britannia was scrapped. Tony Blair made a visit to the yacht soon afterwards and has been quoted as saying that he regretted the decision as soon as he stepped on board.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Fig 8: The Queen’s Bedroom, with its modest single bed. The embroidered silk panel over the bed was designed by Joan Nicholson. The Royal Yacht Britannia. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

The fate of Britannia , however, was by now sealed. On June 30, 1997, she performed her final state role, in the handover of Hong Kong to China, carrying the governor out of the harbour. She returned to Britain to be decommissioned at Portsmouth on December 11, 1997. After a gathering of the Royal Family on board, The Queen was piped ashore for the last time at exactly 15:01. The time is still displayed on all the clocks onboard. In a rare display of emotion, she was seen to shed a tear for the ship that had been her creation and home for so long.

In the past, Royal Yachts had either been scuttled or broken up. In the case of Britannia , however, the Government invited bids from UK organisations to present her to the public as a tourist attraction. From the seven bids considered, that of Edinburgh was judged the most successful and, since July 5, 1998, the yacht has been berthed beside Ocean Terminal shopping centre at Leith under the care of the The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust. She has not only proved a popular tourist attraction, but continues to operate as a venue for private hire. On display at Britannia are three royal sailing vessels, The Queen’s ocean-racing yacht Bloodhound , Bluebottle and Coweslip . The trust also owns a former lighthouse supply vessel, Fingal , now converted into Scotland’s only luxury floating hotel.

The political battle over the question of whether Britain should have a Royal Yacht continues into this Platinum Jubilee year. Whatever the outcome, Britannia deserves to be better known as a remarkable surviving example of taste at the start of Britain’s second Elizabethan Age.

For further information and opening hours, visit www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

This article was originally published in June 2022.

Running a tight ship: 14 facts about the HMY Britannia

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The History Hit Miscellany of Facts, Figures and Fascinating Finds

  • 20th Century

10 Facts About Royal Yacht Britannia

yacht reale inglese britannia

Peta Stamper

28 nov 2022.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The 83rd and last in a long line of royal yachts, HMY Britannia has become one of the most famous ships in the world. Now permanently moored at Edinburgh’s Port of Leith, the floating palace is a visitor attraction welcoming some 300,000 people aboard each year.

For Queen Elizabeth II, Britannia was the ideal residence for state visits and peaceful royal family holidays and honeymoons. For the British public, Britannia was a symbol of Commonwealth. For the 220 naval officers who lived aboard Britannia , and the royal family, the 412-foot-long yacht was home.

Having travelled more than a million nautical miles over 44 years of service to the British Crown, Her Majesty’s beloved boat was decommissioned in 1997. Here are 10 facts about life aboard HMY Britannia.

1. Britannia was launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 16 April 1953 using a bottle of wine, not champagne

Champagne is traditionally smashed against a ship’s hull during launching ceremonies. However, in a post-war climate champagne was seen as too frivolous, so a bottle of Empire wine was used instead.

Britannia launched from the John Brown & Company shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland.

yacht reale inglese britannia

2. Britannia was the 83rd Royal Yacht

King George VI , Elizabeth II’s father, had first commissioned the royal yacht that would become Britannia in 1952. The previous official boat had belonged to Queen Victoria and was rarely used. The tradition of royal yachts had been started by Charles II in 1660.

George decided that the Royal Yacht Britannia should both be a regal vessel as well as a functional one.

3. Britannia had two emergency functions

Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in time of war, although that function was never used. Additionally, as part of the Cold War plan Operation Candid, in the event of nuclear war the ship would become a refuge off the north-west coast of Scotland for the Queen and Prince Philip.

4. Her maiden voyage was from Portsmouth to Grand Harbour in Malta

She carried Prince Charles and Princess Anne to Malta to meet the Queen and Prince Philip at the end of the royal couple’s Commonwealth tour. The Queen stepped aboard Britannia for the first time in Tobruk on 1 May 1954.

Over the next 43 years, Britannia would transport the Queen, members of the Royal Family and various dignitaries on some 696 foreign visits.

yacht reale inglese britannia

The HMY Britannia on a visit by the Queen to Canada in 1964

Image Credit: Royal Canadian Navy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

5. Britannia hosted some of the 20th century’s most notable figures

In July 1959, Britannia sailed the newly opened Saint Lawrence Seaway to Chicago where she docked, making the Queen the first British monarch to visit the city. US President Dwight Eisenhower hopped aboard Britannia for part of the journey.

In later years, Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton would also step aboard. Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise on Britannia in 1981.

6. The crew were volunteers from the Royal Navy

After 365 days’ service, crew members could be admitted to the Permanent Royal Yacht Service as Royal Yachtsmen (‘Yotties’) and serve until they either chose to leave or were dismissed. As a result, some yachtsmen served on  Britannia  for over 20 years.

The crew also included a detachment of Royal Marines, who would dive underneath the ship each day while moored away from home to check for mines or other threats.

7. All royal children were allocated a ‘Sea Daddy’ on board the ship

The ‘sea daddies’ were primarily tasked with looking after the children and keeping them entertained (games, picnics and water fights) during voyages. They also oversaw the children’s chores, including cleaning the life rafts.

yacht reale inglese britannia

8. There was a ‘Jelly Room’ onboard for the royal children

The yacht had a total of three galley kitchens where Buckingham Palace ‘s chefs prepared meals. Among these galleys was a chilled room called the ‘Jelly Room’ for the sole purpose of storing royal children’s jellied desserts.

9. It cost around £11 million every year to run Britannica

The cost of running Britannia was always an issue. In 1994, another expensive refit for the ageing vessel was proposed. Whether or not to refit or commission a new royal yacht entirely came down to the election result of 1997. With repairs at a proposed cost of £17 million, Tony Blair’s new Labour government were unwilling to commit public funds to replace Britannica.

yacht reale inglese britannia

HMY Britannia in 1997, London

Image Credit: Chris Allen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

10. All the clocks on board remain stopped at 3:01pm

In December 1997,  Britannia was officially decommissioned. The clocks have been kept at 3:01pm – the exact moment the Queen went ashore for the last time following the ship’s decommissioning ceremony, during which the Queen shed a rare public tear.

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What to Know About the Royal Yacht Britannia Featured on 'The Crown' Season 5

The Royal Yacht Britannia served as the official royal yacht of the British monarchy for 44 years

yacht reale inglese britannia

The Crown is diving into royal events from the '90s in season 5 , and that includes the decommissioning of Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, also known as the Royal Yacht Britannia.

In the first episode of the new season, Claire Foy ( who portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in seasons 1 and 2) reprises her role as the monarch as a flashback shows the yacht's official launch in April 1953.

At the time, the new yacht held special significance as it was launched by the Queen just before her own coronation in June 1953 .

Through the years, the vessel sailed over 1,000,000 nautical miles on 968 state visits with the royal family as they entertained prime ministers and presidents, per the Royal Yacht Britannia website. It also served as the venue for several royal honeymoons , including Princess Diana and Princes Charles in 1981 .

From when it was commissioned to where the Royal Yacht Britannia is now, here's everything to know about the royal yacht.

When was the Royal Yacht Britannia commissioned?

As shown on The Crown , Royal Yacht Britannia was officially launched on April 16, 1953 , at the shipyard of John Brown & Co. Ltd in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, where Queen Elizabeth unveiled the yacht's official name.

Following Queen Elizabeth 's coronation on June 2, 1953, the Royal Yacht Britannia was commissioned into the Royal Navy on January 11, 1954, before sailing her first overseas port on April 22.

How big is the Royal Yacht Britannia?

The Royal Yacht Britannia is about 412 feet long , with a beam width of 55 feet and five decks , and weighs over 4,000 tons.

Who used the Royal Yacht Britannia?

The yacht was described as the royal family's "floating residence" during its 44 years of service. As it was used to host "magnificent state receptions and banquets, and guests ," numerous world leaders boarded the yacht over the years, including Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan and Rajiv Gandhi.

Per the Royal Yacht Britannia website, the yacht also " allowed the Royal Family some rare privacy away from their public duties and was famously described by HM Queen Elizabeth II as 'the one place I can truly relax.' "

Furthermore, the Royal Yacht Britannia was the venue of four royal honeymoons : Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. All four royal marriages ended in divorce, which Queen Elizabeth famously reflected on in her 1992 speech where she referred to the past year as her "annus horribilis ," or horrible year.

When was the Royal Yacht Britannia decommissioned?

The yacht's retirement was announced in 1994 as a result of the substantial costs needed to repair the ship. It was estimated that the cost would £17 million, which would only prolong the yacht for another five years.

On December 11, 1997, the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned during an official ceremony that was attended by most of the senior members of the royal family. It was been reported that Queen Elizabeth was seen uncharacteristically shedding a tear during the decommissioning.

"Looking back over 44 years we can all reflect with pride and gratitude upon this great ship which has served the country, the Royal Navy and my family with such distinction," the Queen said at the time .

Where is the Royal Yacht Britannia now?

Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, people can now visit the Royal Yacht Britannia at Port of Leith in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visitors are able to see various parts of the yacht including Britannia's five decks, the state apartments, as well as the Sun Lounge, which was the Queen's favorite room in which to have her afternoon tea.

Does the Royal Yacht Britannia have a successor?

Plans for a successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia first began in 2019 when it was reported that the late Sir Donald Gosling had donated £50 million to pay for the construction . In 2021, the yacht was commissioned by Boris Johnson to host trade fairs and diplomatic events and it was expected to go into service in 2024 or 2025.

However, in November 2022, it was reported by BBC that plans for the yacht were being scrapped as the government "searches for spending cuts." The new yacht was estimated to cost up to £250 million.

Related Articles

Che fine ha fatto il Britannia, la vera storia dello yacht della regina Elisabetta

Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia

L' Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia è stata la nave che ha servito la famiglia reale per più di 40 anni, Commissionata l'11 gennaio 1954 e dismessa l'11 dicembre 1997, lo yacht reale oggi è ormeggiato permanentemente all'Ocean Terminal, Leith, a Edimburgo , in Scozia ed è una popolare attrazione turistica. Il primo episodio della quinta stagione di The Crown , in streaming su Netflix dal 9 novembre 2022, si apre proprio con un flashback sulla messa in servizio dell'HMY Britannia di cui riveliamo alcuni segreti.

HMY Britannia nel 1977

Quando fu costruito il Britannia e quanto costava al governo britannico

Fu la regina Elisabetta II a varare l'Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia il 16 aprile 1953 annunciando: " Ho chiamato questa nave Britannia … auguro successo a lei e a tutti coloro che navigano su di le i". Lo yacht reale, costruito dal cantiere navale John Brown & Co su commissione di  re Giorgio VI , prese servizio l' 11 gennaio 1954 .

La regina Elisabetta II e il principe consorte Filippo a bordo del Britannia nel 1954

Durante i suoi oltre 40 anni di servizio , l'HMY Britannia ha percorso più di un milione di miglia nautiche in tutto il mondo. La nave ha svolto un ruolo fondamentale nel lavoro diplomatico della Gran Bretagna ma ha anche ospitato diverse lune di miele dei reali inglesi come quella del principe Carlo e della principessa Diana nel 1981 in una crociera nel Mediterraneo.

Il principe Carlo e Diana sullo yacht reale nel 1977

In seguito ad una serie di riparazioni , nel 1987 e nel 1996-97, arrivate a costare circa 17 milioni di sterline, pagate in gran parte dai contribuenti, il governo inglese ha scelto di dismettere lo yacht reale, la cui stessa manutenzione ordinaria aveva acquisito costi esorbitanti. Il governo decise di smantellare "Britannia" nel 1997. L'ultima missione estera del Royal Yacht fu in seguito alla consegna di Hong Kong alla Repubblica popolare cinese che rece necessario riportare nel Regno Unito l'ultimo governatore di Hong Kong, Chris Patten , e il Principe di Galles. L'Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia è stato dismesso l'11 dicembre 1997 e la regina Elisabetta II pianse quando fu ritirato dal servizio.

Il Britannia fu dismesso nel 1997

La crociera del 1992 e l'evento con Mario Draghi

Il 2 giugno 1992 il lussuoso yacht reale Britannia fu ancorato nelle acque del porto di Civitavecchia per accogliere un convegno sulle privatizzazioni in Italia . A bordo si riunirono alcuni dei rappresentanti del mondo finanziario anglosassone ed esponenti politici ed economici italiani tra cui i rappresentanti dell’Eni, dell’IRI, l'allora Direttore Generale del Tesoro, Mario Draghi , il Presidente del Consiglio, Giuliano Amato , Jeremy Seddon , direttore esecutivo Barclays de Zoete Wedd;, Innocenzo Cipolletta , Direttore di Confindustria, funzionari e dirigenti dell’Ambroveneto, delle Generali, della Società Autostrade, e altri ancora. La breve crociera lungo la costa dell'Argentario anticipò la la stagione delle privatizzazioni in Italia ed è per questo che ancora oggi è oggetti di diverse teorie di complotto per cui in quella riunione sul Britannia fu avviata la svendita delle società partecipate dallo Stato italiano.

Il Britannia ormeggiato

Com'è fatto il HMY Britannia: gli interni

L'HMY Britannia è l' 83a nave della famiglia reale inglese che conta una flotta reale sin dal 1660. Progettato con tre alberi, lo yacht reale è stato costruito per essere trasformato in una nave ospedale in caso di guerra. Varato nel 1953, la regina Elisabetta II e il principe Filippo vollero che il progetto non fosse troppo sontuoso proprio perché il Regno Unito era ancora scosso dalla fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale . Anche gli interni della nave, disegnati da McInnes Gardner & Partners e in seguito rivisti da Sir Hugh Casson , non rappresentano quel senso di  di lusso che ci si aspetterebbe da uno yacht reale.

Gli interni di Britannia

La yacht reale misura 125 metri ed è progettato per ospitare a bordo 45 membri della famiglia reale e 220 membri dell'equipaggio . La HMY Britannia è ricca di dettagli pensati appositamente per la Royal Family come la prua della nave modificata per impedire alle brezze marine di sollevare le gonne reali. A bordo c'è una sala da pranzo statale da 56 posti , che ha ospitato Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela e diversi presidenti degli Stati Uniti. La State Dining Room era la stanza più grande a bordo e accoglieva sontuosi banchetti; è stata usata anche come pista da ballo e cinema a bordo.

La sala da pranzo del Britannia

La regina Elisabetta II accoglieva gli ospiti sempre su una scalinata formale . Le camere da letto della regina e del principe Filippo erano separate e godevano anche di diversi salotti, rispettivamente per Sua Maestà e il Duca di Edimburgo. C'è un solo letto matrimoniale a bordo dell'Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia ed è nella suite luna di miele dello yacht, che si trova di fronte alle camere da letto della regina e del principe.

Uno dei salotti del Britannia

Il Britannia un museo galleggiante: come visitarlo

L'Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia oggi è ormeggiata in modo permanente nel porto di Leith a Edimburgo ed è un importante attrazione turistica del Regno Unito, classificata National Historic Fleet. Lo yacht reale è un museo che che viene visitato da oltre 300.000 persone all'anno. Il tour del Britannia comprende la visita dei cinque ponti della nave, la camera da letto della regina resa accessibile da un'apposita parete di vetro, le sale da pranzo e i salotti statali. La nave è anche usata spesso per importanti eventi privati serali come compleanni di star di Hollywood o matrimoni di membri della famiglia reale. Per visitare l'HMY Britannia si paga un biglietto d'ingresso di 18,5 sterline per gli adulti, 13,50 sterline per gli studenti e 9,25 sterline per i bambini dai 5 ai 17 anni d'età.

Il Britannia di notte nel 1997

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What Happened To The Royal Yacht Britannia?

By Elise Taylor

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Yacht Boat Person Officer Captain Flag Clothing Hat and People

The Crown season five begins and ends with the same plot point: The Royal Yacht Britannia. The vessel serves as a – fairly obvious – metaphor in the first episode, where Imelda Staunton’s Queen Elizabeth describes it as “a floating, seagoing version of me.” The problem with her metaphorical marine self? It’s in desperate need of multi-million pound repairs. 

She asks British prime minister John Major, played by Jonny Lee Miller, whether the government might be able to help foot the bill. He, in turn, asks if the royal family might front the cost, given the public pushback they both might receive if such a seemingly extravagant project was approved. In the final episode of the season (a note to the reader: spoilers will follow), Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth agree to decommission the yacht after Prince Charles’s trip to Hong Kong.

The Crown is known for taking much of its plot material from real-life events. In the case of the Royal Yacht Britannia, though – what really happened to the boat, and how much political controversy did it really cause?

To go back to the beginning, King George VI first commissioned the royal yacht that would become the Britannia in 1952. It was an exciting project, as the previous official boat had belonged to Queen Victoria, and was rarely used. Then, during the early 20th century, England was mostly at war, and making a massive, slow-sailing luxury ship would be a massive security risk in international waters. 

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The Royal Yacht Britannia, George decided, should both be an extravagant vessel and a functional one, able to double as a hospital if times of war were to arise again. In 1953, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth christened the ship with a bottle of wine, as champagne was still seen as too extravagant post-war. In 1954, she set sail for the first time.

The Royal Yacht fulfilled many functions, most of them leisurely. Over the years, the boat hosted four royal honeymoons, including that of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, as well as many family vacations. In 1969, after his investiture as the Prince of Wales, Charles hosted an intimate party on board to celebrate. (Newspapers at the time wrote that he danced with his dear friend Lucia Santa Cruz – the very person who eventually introduced him to Camilla Parker Bowles.)

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It also served as a grandiose mode of transport for many royal visits. In 1959, for example, Britannia sailed to Chicago to celebrate the recently opened St Lawrence seaway in Canada, and President Eisenhower joined her on board. Twenty years later, she sailed to Abu Dhabi for her first official visit to the United Arab Emirates, where she held a grand dinner for Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

And although Queen Elizabeth's reign was not during wartime, the royal yacht did execute a humanitarian mission, as King George VI had always planned for: In 1986, it sailed to Aden to evacuate over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Yemen.

The New York Times once described the 412-foot Britannia as “an ordinary yacht what Buckingham Palace is to the house next door.” It wasn’t an exaggeration – Britannia was essentially a floating palace. It had a drawing room, a dining room, two sitting rooms, as well as galleys and cabins for all the officers. The stateroom interiors were just as ornate as any other royal estate, while the bedrooms – which all had their own bathrooms and dressing rooms – were designed to feel surprisingly personal. 

“Within the royal apartments, however, the regal elegance gives way to the homey, patched elbow chic of an English country house, with flowered chintz slipcovers, family photographs, and rattan settees, interspersed with the occasional relic of Empire – shark’s teeth from the Solomon Islands here, a golden urn commemorating Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar there,” the New York Times found when it boarded the ship in 1976.

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The cost of running Britannia was always an issue. Politicians raised questions about its financial value as far back as 1954, when two MPs lobbied for an investigation on why the yacht’s refurbishment would cost £5.8 million, accusing the royal family of waste and extravagance. A government committee later dismissed the accusations. In 1994, the Conservative government ruled the yacht too costly to refurbish, when repairs came in at a whopping 17 million, but then briefly walked back on their decision a few years later. 

However, when Tony Blair’s Labour government won the election, and the new government once again declined to pay for Britannia. Britannia’s final journey was to far-flung Hong Kong in 1997, as Prince Charles turned over the British colony back to the Chinese at the end of Britain’s 99-year lease. When they finally decommissioned the boat that summer, the queen cried – one of the few times she’s shown emotion in public. The boat had logged over one million nautical miles.

Today, Britannia sits permanently docked in Edinburgh. Visitors can take tours of its grand galleys, or even rent it out for events. Yet, despite its retirement, the concept of the royal yacht lives on: In 2021, Boris Johnson floated the idea of a new boat. However, a mere eight days ago, Rishi Sunak has scrapped the project – showing that, even now, the concept remains a controversial one.

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clock This article was published more than  1 year ago

What really happened to Royal Yacht Britannia from ‘The Crown’ Season 5?

yacht reale inglese britannia

LONDON — The much-hyped fifth season of “The Crown” opens with a heavy-handed metaphor weighing approximately 4,000 tons.

It’s 1953, and a young Queen Elizabeth II, a month before her coronation, is in Scotland to launch the new royal yacht, the Britannia. “I hope this brand-new vessel, like your brand-new queen, will prove to be dependable and constant, capable of weathering any storm,” she declares to great applause.

And so the queen and her ship are inextricably linked as the Netflix TV show fast-forwards to 1991, when questions about costly repairs for the Britannia are presented in parallel to questions about whether the 65-year-old queen is too old for her role.

King Charles III wants to look ahead. ‘The Crown’ drags him back.

There is no missing that this is a narrative device in a series now labeled a “fictional dramatization.” But the episode’s release this week has renewed interest in the history of the royal yacht and ignited a debate about how the British monarch interacted with her government. It also happened to coincide with a modern-day echo of 1991, as new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, facing a recession, sank plans for a replacement royal yacht.

What to know about Britannia, ‘the floating palace’

There is a real Royal Yacht Britannia, and, as in the show, the young queen really did announce its name and christen it with a bottle of Empire wine. (Though not with a self-referential speech.)

The Britannia was the latest in a series of royal yachts dating back to 1660 and King Charles II . In 44 years of service, the ship sailed more than 1 million nautical miles — equivalent to more than 40 circumnavigations of Earth — calling at more than 600 ports in 135 countries and projecting British influence around the world.

The Britannia was used for state visits and receptions, royal family holidays and honeymoons. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all spent time on board, as did Boris Yeltsin and Nelson Mandela. When civil war broke out in South Yemen in 1986, the yacht was rerouted to help evacuate civilians.

“The Crown” suggests the yacht was the queen’s favorite “home,” cherished even more than Balmoral in the Scottish highlands. Biographers don’t dispute that this could have been true. In his book “Queen of Our Times,” Robert Hardman writes, “There were few places where the Queen would be happier.”

Although served by a crew of 220, the ship was a place where the royal family could relax and escape the watchful eye of the public. Hugh Casson, who designed the interior, once recounted, “the overall idea was to give the impression of a country house at sea.” Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, was fascinated with the birds he saw during voyages in the 1950s and even published a book titled “Birds from Britannia.”

Did the queen lobby for repairs?

The controversial part of “The Crown” portrayal centers on whether the queen actively lobbied Prime Minister John Major for the government to pay for extensive repairs — which could have amounted to inappropriate interference in politics by a constitutional monarch.

She says in the show: “Here I am, coming to you, prime minister, on bended knee, for the sign-off, but I’m hoping that will be a formality.”

The character of Major, who was prime minister during a tough recession, responds by suggesting the royal yacht is “something of a luxury” and that spending public money on it while the economy is in the tank would not be good for the government or the royal family.

The queen persists, arguing that the yacht is “a central and indispensable part of the way the crown serves the nation” and “a floating, seagoing expression of me.”

The queen-ship metaphor is dragged out in a later conversation, when the character of Prince Charles — impatient to be king — tells Major about the Britannia: “Sometimes these old things are too costly to keep repairing.”

So did any of that actually take place?

The real-life Major has called the show’s imagined conversations “a barrel-load of nonsense.”

Robert Lacey, a historical consultant on “The Crown,” defended the depiction. He told The Washington Post that the subject of the yacht would have inevitably come up between the queen and the prime minister, who met once a week to discuss matters of state.

“She certainly spoke about it to the prime minister,” Lacey said. “Obviously, the royal family would have lobbied for it. The queen did want another royal yacht.”

Hardman, the royal biographer, insisted that while the queen no doubt would have been interested in repairs or a replacement, she would not have “leaned on her prime ministers for money.”

In a letter written in 1994, later stored in the National Archives, the queen’s deputy private secretary Kenneth Scott wrote to the cabinet office that “the Queen would naturally very much welcome it if a way could be found of making available for the nation in the 21st century the kind of service which Britannia has provided for the last 43 years.”

Scott noted, however, that “the question of whether there should be a replacement yacht is very much one for the government” and “the last thing I should like to see is a newspaper headline saying ‘Queen Demands New Yacht.’”

The Times of London headline when the letter was uncovered in 2018: “ I want a new yacht, Queen told Whitehall in secret letter .”

What happened to the Britannia?

Major’s government wasn’t swayed by arguments to repair or renew the ship. Even with a retrofit costing an estimated 17 million pounds, the Britannia would be expensive to run and hard to maintain. It was hard to justify when air travel was a readily available alternative for royal trips and trade missions.

The yacht’s final voyage abroad was to Hong Kong in 1997, when the territory was handed back to China. A few months later, the Britannia undertook a farewell tour of Britain, calling at six major ports and blasting its sirens as it passed the shipyard that built it, before returning for a decommissioning ceremony in Portsmouth, England on Dec. 11, 1997. The ship’s clocks were stopped. The Royal Marines band played. Lacey noted: “The only time the queen was seen to cry was when the royal yacht was de-commissioned.”

The ship is now a visitor attraction site in Edinburgh, Scotland. On the day of the queen’s state funeral in September, a lone piper played a lament on the deck.

What about plans for a replacement royal yacht?

The possibility of a replacement yacht gained some traction during the 1997 general election, but the incoming Labour government nixed the idea.

More than two decades later, as part of a campaign to promote a reinvigorated “Global Britain” in the aftermath of Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed a new royal yacht . There was a push to name the ship after Prince Philip, who died last year, though it would be more for the government than for the royal family. In Johnson’s vision, the ship would tour the world as a “floating embassy,” where officials would host summits and cement trade deals. It would cost an estimated 250 million pounds to build, plus 30 million pounds a year to run.

But once again, the economic climate is not favorable for big yacht projects. The new Sunak administration announced this week that it was terminating the royal yacht plan and would instead procure a surveillance ship that could protect energy cables and other infrastructure. The prime minister’s spokesman said it was “right to prioritize at a time when difficult spending decisions need to be made.”

yacht reale inglese britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia

  • Guarda il sito completo

The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ

Tel: 0131 555 5566 E-mail: [email protected]

Royal Yacht Britannia

Palazzo galleggiante appartenuto alla Regina Elisabetta II

Salite a bordo del palazzo galleggiante appartenuto alla Regina Elisabetta II e scoprite questa straordinaria attrazione a 5 stelle voi stessi. Votata l’attrazione Tripadvisor No.1 in tutto il regno unito nel 2023, garantiamo a I visitatori una fantastica giornata fuori. Seguite le orme della famiglia reale e esplorate i 5 ponti del Britannia, dagli eleganti Appartamenti di Stato alla sfavillante sala machine.

yacht reale inglese britannia

Salite a bordo di questo famoso panfilo e seguite le orme della famiglia reale. Esplorate i 5 ponti della Britannia con la nostra audioguida gratuita disponibile in oltre 30 lingue, piu un tour per bambini e a un tablet con la lingua dei segni Britannica/Americana. 

Dagli eleganti appartamenti di Stato alla scintillante sala macchine. Scoprite dove i principi William e Harry hanno trascorso le loro vacanze estive. Esplorate i luoghi in cui re e regine, leader mondiali e celebrità hanno bevuto e mangiato, da Frank Sinatra e Liz Taylor a Nelson Mandela e Sir Winston Churchill.

Orari di ingresso 2024

Ingresso alla nave Apertura visite Chiusura visite
Gennaio - Marzo* 10:30 15:30
Aprile - Agosto 10:00 16:30
Settembre 10:30 16:30
Ottobre 10:30 16:00
Novembre - Décembre* 10:30 15:30

* A causa degli imminenti lavori di costruzione presso il centro commerciale Ocean Terminal, il Britannia sarà chiuso dal 25 al 28 giugno.

* Il Royal Yacht Britannia è chiuso il 1° gennaio e il 25 dicembre. L'ultimo ingresso al Royal Yacht il 24 dicembre è alle 14:30.

biglietti e prezzi

Adult £19.50
Student (with ID)** £13.50
Child (aged 5-17) £9.25
Child (under 5) FREE
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £50.00
Armed Forces (available at the Ticket Desk)** £9.25

** Armed Forces, student and carer tickets are only available at the ticket desk. They cannot be pre-booked, but are available to buy on the day of visit.

  See our FAQ page for further details.

Tram featuring advertising for The Royal Yacht Britannia in front of Ocean Terminal building

IMAGES

  1. Yacht reale Britannia Storia e patrimonio culturale

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  2. The Royal Yacht Britannia Official Website

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  3. The Royal Yacht Britannia: A History of Queen Elizabeth II’s Favorite

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  4. Royal Yacht Britannia in history

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  5. Inside the historic Royal Yacht Britannia

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  6. Royal yacht: Why Britannia will definitely cost more than £200m to build

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VIDEO

  1. The Royal Yacht BRITANNIA

  2. THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA

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  4. Britannia Yacht Club

  5. the royal yacht britannia in Edinburgh

  6. Ecco INEOS BRITANNIA il nuovo e differente AC75 inglese

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  1. HMY Britannia

    Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former royal yacht of the British monarchy.She was in their service from 1954 until 1997. She was the 83rd such vessel since King Charles II acceded to the throne in 1660, and is the second royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893. During her 43-year career, the yacht travelled more than a million ...

  2. The Royal Yacht Britannia Official Website

    Step aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia. Start your tour at our entrance on the Ground Floor of Ocean Terminal. Please pre-book your tickets to guarantee admission. A great day out for all the family, explore each of the five decks at this top attraction in Edinburgh and discover what life was like on board Queen Elizabeth II's former floating ...

  3. Royal Yacht Britannia Facts Everyone Should Know—and How to Visit

    The Britannia's Drawing Room. The ship's wheel was taken from King Edward VII's racing yacht, also named Britannia, according to Boat International, and the 126-meter ship could reach speeds of 22.75 knots, or a seagoing cruising speed of 21 knots, according to Super Yacht Times. Other fun facts: The yacht could produce her own fresh ...

  4. Secrets of the Royal Yacht Britannia

    It was a struggle to get the royal car on board. When the 412-ft yacht was built in 1953, it was considered important that it had a garage to house the Queen's Rolls Royce. However, getting the ...

  5. The History of The Royal Yacht Britannia

    Historical Timeline. 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. 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. There is additional ...

  6. The Royal Yacht Britannia: history and visitor information

    construction and design of the Royal Yacht Britannia. Like two of the other great ocean-going passenger liners, the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth II, the royal yacht's life began on the River Clyde. It was built in John Brown's shipyard in Clydebank near Glasgow and launched on 16 April 1953. Following sea trials, the ship was commissioned ...

  7. Best UK Attraction

    A Royal residence for over 40 years, The Royal Yacht Britannia sailed over 1,000,000 nautical miles on 968 state visits with the Royal Family where they entertained prime ministers and presidents. Now Tripadvisor's No.1 UK Attraction 2023, you can discover across five decks stories of life at sea for both the Royal Family and the 220 Royal ...

  8. Inside Royal Yacht Britannia, Queen Elizabeth's Royal Cruise Ship

    The Royal Yacht Britannia was the royal family's private yacht from 1953 to 1997. The ship is now a museum open to the public in Edinburgh, Scotland. The tour shows the Queen's bedroom, state ...

  9. The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh

    Visit this award-winning attraction, just two miles from Edinburgh's city centre at Ocean Terminal. The Royal Yacht Britannia played host to some of the world's most famous people, from Nelson Mendela to Winston Churchill, but above all was home for the British Royal Family for over 40 years. Now you can discover the heart and soul of this ...

  10. Royal Yacht Britannia

    Step aboard Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace and experience this iconic attraction for yourself. Rated Tripadvisor's No.1 UK Attraction (AGAIN), Britannia is one of the most famous ships in the world…Royal Deck Tearoom. Only 15 minutes from Edinburgh City Centre. Lothian Bus services from Edinburgh city centre are - 10, 16, 34 ...

  11. The Royal Yacht Britannia

    The christening of The Royal Yacht Britannia serves as a cheeky season opener to The Crown. Black-and-white Pathé News-style footage shows a soon-to-be-crowned Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy ...

  12. The Royal Yacht Britannia: How The Queen created a floating home and

    From as early as 1939, bids had been invited to construct a new Royal Yacht capable of long-distance travel. War and austerity put paid to the initiative, but a visit by George VI to South Africa in 1947 on board the battleship HMS Vanguard revived it. As The Queen commented at Britannia's launch, George VI 'felt most strongly, as I do, that a yacht was a necessity and not a luxury for the ...

  13. HMY Britannia (Royal Cutter Yacht)

    Height. 164 ft (50 m) Draught. 15 ft (4.6 m) Sail plan. 10,328 sq ft (959.5 m 2) (1893) His Majesty's Yacht Britannia was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for RYS Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. She served both himself and his son King George V with a long racing career.

  14. 10 Facts About Royal Yacht Britannia

    2. Britannia was the 83rd Royal Yacht. King George VI, Elizabeth II's father, had first commissioned the royal yacht that would become Britannia in 1952. The previous official boat had belonged to Queen Victoria and was rarely used. The tradition of royal yachts had been started by Charles II in 1660.

  15. Royal Residence in Edinburgh

    The Royal Residence. The Royal Yacht Britannia proudly served the British Royal Family for over 44 years. This famous ship was the last of 83 Royal Yachts, a tradition which began hundreds of years before in the 1660s. Britannia travelled over one million nautical miles on 968 state visits. She was a successful ambassador around the world and ...

  16. The Crown: The Real History of the Royal Yacht Britannia

    Britannia was launched by the Queen on April 16, 1953, and commissioned on January 11, 1954. Royal Yacht Britannia served Prince Charles and Princess Anne on her maiden voyage, taking them to the ...

  17. All About the Royal Yacht Britannia Featured on The Crown Season 5

    The Royal Yacht Britannia served as the official royal yacht of the British monarchy for 44 years. The Crown is diving into royal events from the '90s in season 5, and that includes the ...

  18. Che fine ha fatto il Britannia, la vera storia dello yacht della regina

    L'HMY Britannia è l' 83a nave della famiglia reale inglese che conta una flotta reale sin dal 1660. Progettato con tre alberi, lo yacht reale è stato costruito per essere trasformato in una nave ...

  19. What Happened To The Royal Yacht Britannia?

    The Royal Yacht Britannia, George decided, should both be an extravagant vessel and a functional one, able to double as a hospital if times of war were to arise again. In 1953, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth christened the ship with a bottle of wine, as champagne was still seen as too extravagant post-war. In 1954, she set sail for the first ...

  20. HMY Britannia (1953)

    HMY Britannia è stato il panfilo della famiglia reale britannica.Si è trattato dell'83ª nave avente questa funzione dalla restaurazione di Carlo II d'Inghilterra (), ed il secondo a portare questo nome (il primo HMY Britannia fu un cutter costruito per il principe di Galles nel 1893).La nave è ormeggiata in modo permanente all'Ocean Terminal di Leith, Edimburgo.

  21. Explore Britannia

    The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ. Tel: 0131 555 5566 Email us: [email protected] ...

  22. What happened to the Royal Yacht Britannia mentioned in The Crown

    November 11, 2022 at 4:15 a.m. EST. The Royal Yacht Britannia enters Hong Kong harbor on its last overseas voyage in 1997. (Dan Groshong/AFP/Getty Images) 7 min. LONDON — The much-hyped fifth ...

  23. Benvenuti A Bordo

    The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ. Tel: 0131 555 5566 E-mail: [email protected]. Menu. IT. EN; FR; ... Seguite le orme della famiglia reale e esplorate i 5 ponti del Britannia, dagli eleganti Appartamenti di Stato alla sfavillante sala machine.