Did the Queen really demand that the public pay for the Britannia Yacht Refurb?

Did the Queen really demand that the public pay for the Britannia Yacht Refurb?

Did the Queen really demand that the public pay for the Britannia Yacht Refurb?

In episode one, series five The crownThe GP asks the Queen (Imelda Staunton) a “quite personal” question. Is Balmoral his favorite residence? He smiles back, and instead the scene cuts to a magnificent yacht, the HMY Royal Britannia, sailing somewhere in the Irish Sea, probably as far as Scotland.

Five star service? Experience 10-star service on this boujie boat. silver service dinners by candlelight; landscape painting classes on the harbor deck, hundreds of waiting staff. Well, who wouldn’t? Try the British public when they were faced with a not-so-trivial £14.745m renovation in the middle of the global recession (according to documents The crownPrince Philip, Jonathan Pryce).

But while the Queen questions, no, she tells then-Prime Minister John Major (Jonny Lee Miller) that her royal subjects will foot the bill for the Peter Morgan series, how true that is, and what happened to the luxury yacht. at the end?

Did the Queen really demand that the public pay for the Britannia Yacht Refurb?

Tim GrahamGetty Images:

Royal Yacht Club

King Charles II first started the idea of ​​a private boat being important to a reigning monarch in 1660, and when the tradition passed to HRH Elizabeth II in 1953, it evolved into the most luxurious of ships.

The Queen launched the yacht in 1953, a 126m beast that could accommodate up to 250 guests, served by 21 Royal Navy officers and 250 Royal Yachtsmen. The maiden voyage in 1954 took Prince Charles and Princess Anne to Malta to meet their parents, and over the years the ship has entertained everyone from Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton to Nelson Mandela. Interestingly, the ship also doubled as a nuclear shelter for the royal family, who would have taken refuge there off the northwest coast of Scotland in the event of an emergency.

Although the yacht was mainly used for sea entertainment; Charles and Diana honeymooned on it in 1981, while the rest of the royal family used it for their annual two-week cruise to the west coast of Scotland, also known as the Western Isles Tour; It was also used to evacuate 1,000 people from Aden, Yemen, during the 1986 civil war.

However, in 1994 the Conservative government, then led by John Major, announced that the yacht would drop its anchor for the last time due to excessive running costs. Viscount Cranborne of the House of Lords said at the time: “The yacht was last overhauled in 1987. Further repairs, costing around £17 million, will be needed in 1996–97, but will only extend its life once. next five years. Given her age, even after renovation she will be difficult to maintain and expensive. Therefore, it was decided to decommission “Britannia” in 1997.”

However, by 1997, and with the general election around the corner, the idea of ​​a royal yacht became a contentious issue, with the Tories announcing that they would relaunch the yacht if re-elected. Agreed The Guardian: at the time, the Queen was “furious” that the royal family had been “drawn into the center of the election campaign, just as they are struggling to restore their public image”.

KUWAIT February 13 The Queen and Prince Philip come ashore from a royal yacht to bid farewell to the Amir of Kuwait and his Ministers Day Gulf tour dates undecided February 1 March 12, 1979 Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Tim GrahamGetty Images:

However, in 2018 The times It was revealed that the Queen had “secretly lobbied Whitehall” in 1995 when a senior Buckingham Palace official, Sir Kenneth Scott, wrote to the Cabinet Office saying the Queen would be “very welcome” to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia. The letter, which was found in the national archives, said: “In recent correspondence I have purposely taken a backseat because the question of whether there should be a replacement yacht is very important to the government and because the last thing I would want; the headline of the newspaper is “Queen wants new yacht”.

“At the same time, I hope it is clear to all concerned, that this reticence of the House now implies that His Majesty is not deeply interested in the subject; on the contrary, the Queen would naturally welcome it very much if it were possible to make available to the nation in the 21st century the kind of service that Britain has provided for the past 43 years.”

Speaking Daily ExpressProfessor Murphy, director of the Institute for Commonwealth Studies, said of the discovery of his letter. discreet pressure on Whitehall to come up with some alternative proposals.’

Meanwhile The crown goes a step further and shows the Queen stepping in to demand that John Major’s party and the public pay for repairs and keeping the ship on the high seas, it is highly unlikely that this meeting ever took place. 2003 Sunday Telegraph It quotes a source who claimed that the monarch would never pressure the government on a politically sensitive topic. “Neither the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh have ever expressed an opinion on how the matter was settled, nor will they.”

Britain was finally decommissioned in 1997, after Tony Blair and Labor were voted into power, and her last trip was to bring the last Hong Kong governor, Chris Patten, and the Prince of Wales back from Hong Kong. People’s Republic of China. The Queen was later caught shedding a tear as it broke down in Portsmouth. The yacht is now a permanent visitor attraction in Edinburgh’s Port Leith and receives up to 300,000 boats a year.

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