Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, also known as the Royal Yacht Britannia
73cm x 1cm x 32cm
Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, also known as the Royal Yacht Britannia, is the former royal yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in 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 nautical miles around the globe. Now retired from royal service, Britannia is permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal, Leith in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a popular visitor attraction with over 300,000 visits each year.
Britannia sailed on her maiden voyage from Portsmouth to Grand Harbour, Malta, departing on 14 April and arriving on 22 April 1954. She carried Princess Anne and Prince Charles to Malta in order for them to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Tobruk at the end of the royal couple’s Commonwealth Tour. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh embarked on Britannia for the first time in Tobruk on 1 May 1954.
On 20 July 1959, Britannia sailed the newly opened Saint Lawrence Seaway en route to Chicago, where she docked, making the Queen the first British monarch to visit the city. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was aboard Britannia for part of this cruise; Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were welcomed aboard in later years. Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise on Britannia in 1981. The ship evacuated over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986. The vessel sailed to Canada in 1991 and made a port of call in Toronto and Kingston, Ontario.
During her career as Royal Yacht, Britannia conveyed the Queen, other members of the Royal Family and various dignitaries on 696 foreign visits and 272 visits in British waters. In this time, Britannia steamed 1,087,623 nautical miles (2,014,278 km).
Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Britannia is a visitor attraction moored in the historic Port of Leith in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is cared for by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a registered charity. There was some controversy over the siting of the ship, with some arguing that she would be better moored on the River Clyde, where she was built, than in Edinburgh, with which the yacht had few links. Her positioning in Leith coincided with a redevelopment of the harbour area, and the advent of Scottish devolution.
Entrance to the yacht is via the Ocean Terminal development, and over 300,000 people visit the Royal Yacht Britannia every year. She is also one of the UK’s top evening events venues. On 18 May 2006, the Swiss-born Hollywood actress and first Bond girl, Ursula Andress, celebrated her 70th birthday on board the former royal yacht. On 29 July 2011, a drinks reception was held on board Britannia for Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips and her then fiancé, Mike Tindall to celebrate their upcoming wedding
Speed 21.5 knots
Range 2,400 Nautical Miles
Crew 21 Officers – 250* Royal Yachtsmen