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ACM Home arrow Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia
Royal Yacht Britannia



HMY Britannia  was built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland. She was launched by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, on 16 April 1953 and commissioned on 11 January 1954.

She was the 83rd royal yacht since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Charles II had 25 Royal Yachts, while five were simultaneously in service in 1831.

Designed to be converted into a hospital ship in time of war, HMY Britannia carried The Queen, other members of the Royal Family, and various dignitaries on 696 foreign visits and 272 visits in British waters. Over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986 were evacuated by Britannia.

The ship was an enormous source of prestige and influence, not only for the United Kingdom, but for the entire Commonwealth especially the Realms which share The Queen as their Sovereign or Monarch, including Australia, Canada New Zealand and the Pacific and Caribbean Realms.  In a foreign country she would attract enormous attention, and the High Commis,sioners from the Commonwealth  would be prominent among the foreign diplomats often invited on board. The visit would attract even more attention than a Royal Visit normally does. 

Although Britannia could have been refitted with new engines at a relatively low cost,  the Conservative government announced in 1997 that it would replace the Royal Yacht if re-elected. The Opposition  was silent as to its plans.  After the election, with no serious cost-benefit analysis, the new Labour government  under Tony Blair, with Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that the vessel would be retired and that there would be no replacement.

Ths was short sighted and possibly mean spritited decision which was to the disadvantage of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. 

 



Britannia should have been there Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Writing about the D-Day anniversary, Robert Hardman ( Spectator 7 June 20140 says that these events ''remind us what we lost when Tony Blair pensioned off the Royal Yacht to a cruise terminal in Leith. 
''On the eve of the 50th anniversary of D-Day, a million lined the Solent to wave her off to Normandy with the Queen and the leaders of the free world aboard. 

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'' I well remember Lech Walesa of Poland, pressed to the deck rail, fists clenched and speechless with emotion, while Bill Clinton surveyed the scene and quoted Eisenhower.  

''Since national pride dictated that he should land in a US vessel, Mr Clinton had to jump ship — literally — south of the Isle of Wight and nearly fell in. Come nightfall, Britannia steamed up the canal to Caen. 

''At Pegasus Bridge, she was greeted by bands, saluting veterans and sobbing crowds. 

'' This week, the Queen and Prince Philip arrive on a scheduled Eurostar service.'' 

 
Royal Yacht Britannia 2 for the Diamond Jubilee - a University of the Oceans Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
 
        
                     
        

ImageThis report has been posted to the section dedicated to the Royal Yacht Britannia on the ACM site, as well as the one dedicated to the Diamond Jubilee.


Talk about shooting yourself in your foot. The decision of the UK Blair government in 1997 to scrap the Royal Yacht Britannia was not only mean-spirited.

It was also a blow to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

In a foreign country she would attract enormous attention, and High Commissioners from the Commonwealth would be prominent among the foreign diplomats invited on board.
This would remind everyone that the Queen is Sovereign of all of the other realms and Head of the Commonwealth

The Royal visit would attract even more attention than one normally does, to the great advantage of the United Kingdom the other realms and the Commonwealth.


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As Prince Philip – a seasoned sailor - says, there was a low-cost alternative to a new Royal yacht, one which the Blair government ruled out. That was to have her steam engines taken out and diesel engines put in.

As the Prince says, Britannia was as sound as a bell could have gone on for another 50 years.



...a new Royal Yacht...



Now there's a proposal which develops on earlier ones for the private sector to come up with the funds to build a new Royal Yacht.

The British education Secretary Michael Gove
had expressed his support for a new yacht as a potential gift to The Queen from the nation to mark her Diamond Jubilee. Apparently the Prime Minister David Cameron supports this, but has ruled out any public financing.

The Future Ship Project for the 21st Century (FSP21) involves building a ship 600ft long, to be used for trade and business events, as well as a training ship for 200 young people, a University of the Oceans.

 

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...University of the Oceans...

Britannia was conceived as also functioning as a hospital ship and has actually been used was used for humanitarian purposes.

If some of the realms the realms were involved in the building of the new ship it could be used for their advantage too.

Naturally the usual suspects of come out to attack the proposal even as a private initiative. They are just small-minded obsessed republicans.

Were Australia involved in the building of the new yacht, it could also be used for our national purposes. If a member of the Royal family were asked to be involved in a visit to a foreign country for promoting trade or some other national purposes – including training young Australians - the impact would be powerful.

It may distress republican politicians, but the visit one of them to foreign capital doesn't exactly have the same impact as say a member of the Australian Royal family.

Australia should get behind this proposal.

 
Scrapping Britannia a mistake, says Prince Philip. He is right. Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 28 May 2011
 Image This is the latest report in the “ Royal Yacht Britannia” section  on the ACM site www.norepublic.com.au.  For information on the yacht and on the campaign for a replacement for Britannia, just click on the icon in the right hand column. 

In a television interview to mark his 90th birthday Prince Philip has criticised the decision to decommission the vessel in the 1997  cost-cutting measure by the Labour government, reports Adrian Lee in the London Daily Express (17/5). 

He is right.

It was not only short sighted and mean hearted, it was damaging to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, especially the Realms which share The Queen as their Sovereign or Monarch, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Pacific and Caribbean Realms. 

It is important that Britannia be replaced.  We make a suggestion below as to how this could be done
.
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...refurbishing Britannia was best option... 

( Continued below).

Read more...
 
A successor to HMY Britannia - the Commonwealth case Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Friday, 17 February 2006
As General Charles de Gaulle once observed, without prestige, there can be no authority, and without distance, there can be no prestige.

Prestige is an immediately recognizable quality, easily lost, and difficult to define and to acquire.

The United Kingdom still has it. The Queen, above all, has it. Some prime ministers have it-Churchill, McMillan, Thatcher and Blair.

The hard headed French squeeze the very last drop of prestige from everything they have, even from as unlikely an instrument as their tainted president.

HMY Britannia had it - in spades, as those correspondents to the London Daily Telegraph whose letters we recently summarised have so well testified. Not so long ago, several times in every year, the great and powerful in some distant harbour would give almost anything to come to pay tribute to The Queen and to be received on that great Royal Yacht , with the music and the pomp that can only surround the Throne. This applies equally to those who claim disinterest and even to those who given half the chance would dismantle the Crown.

Read more...
 
A new Britannia? Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 15 February 2006
As we mentioned in our last column, there has been a strong expression of support in the UK for a successor for HMY Britannia.

In the London Daily Telegraph on 28 December 2005, Jack Richards, asked how much would each Daily Telegraph reader have to contribute under "gift aid" to provide the Queen with a modest royal yacht?

Then on 29 December, 2005 Harry Desmond offered to make a donation towards the complete refurbishment of the royal yacht Britannia to be given to the Queen and her family for her personal use in perpetuity, so that no future government can take it away from her.

Read more...
 
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