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Boris Johnson says the government will consider a new Royal Yacht Britannia

The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has said that the commissioning of a new Royal Yacht would “add greatly” to the soft power of the United Kingdom.

Mr Johnson made the remarks during a statement on the Spring Budget after an MP asked him on his thoughts regarding the commissioning a new Royal Yacht.

Conservative MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake Berry, asked the Foreign Secretary whether: “He would acknowledge that one of the ultimate ways in which we could project the soft power and prestige of Britain around the globe is to commission a new royal yacht for Her Majesty The Queen.”

He added that this could be a “floating trade mission used by industry around the globe in the interest of our nation.”

In response, Mr Johnson said: “It is my view that it would indeed add greatly to the soft power of this country.”

The Foreign Secretary did say though that taxpayers should not fund a new royal yacht if there was one to be commissioned.

He said: “The new Britannia should not be a call on the taxpayer. If it can be done privately I am sure it will attract overwhelming support.

“It is one of a number of measures that I am sure this government would be able to consider.”

Royal Yacht Britannia was Her Majesty’s personal ship and was in service from 1954 until 1997 when it was decommissioned by the government.

“It is my view that it would indeed add greatly to the soft power of this country.”
Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary

HMY Britannia was the 83rd such vessel since King Charles II acceded to the British throne in 1660.

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).

  • Howell

    Does the Queen even want it???

    • UF

      At 90 it’s highly unlikely she cares much about it now. She did love her last yacht and lobbied as hard as the constitution allowed not to decommission it. A film about its importance was produced professionally and was both quite good and quite convincing. But the government went ahead with decommissioning anyway. At the decommissioning Her Majesty unsuccessfully fought back tears. It was heartbreaking. HRH The Prince Phillip explained in the film that Britannia was the only “home” he and the Queen ever got to design themselves. Because it was started before she acceded, the design of the official and state rooms were left to her and HRH. It was a very lovely vessel and very practical. From the family’s private films one can see the memories it held for them all.

  • UF

    Her Majesty loved Britannia. When she came to the throne the nautical guts of the ship were finished and the actually decking and their rooms were being built. Her Majesty and Prince Phillip, himself an accomplished sailor, took an active role in its design. The Prince would later say it was the only “home” they got to design themselves as all their royal palaces were finished when they move in, including Clarence House where they lived before her father died. When the government decided to decommission as a tax saving measure, Her Majesty lobbied against it, as always careful not to step beyond her constitutional limitations. Proponents of the yacht produced a highly glossy and professional movie with which the Queen and Prince cooperated enthusiastically. The film showed how the ship operated including Her Majesty’s official use of the ship and Prince Charles’ as well. The ship also visited various ports on trade missions with important business leaders and industrialists coming on board for meetings to enhance trade, industry and innovation. The yacht certainly pulled its weight. Unfortunately there were no records of how many actual dollars the yacht represented to the nation in deals closed and trade. The decision to decommission stood and Her Majesty, Prince Phillip and most of their family and dignitaries and even the pols responsible for its decommissioning attended. As the national anthem was played Her Majesty unsuccessfully fought back tears. During “Beat Retreat” she stopped trying. It was a sad day. I saw Britannia up close as she left Boston Harbor (the English tea place) during a celebration of our 200th anniversary of independence. She was breathtaking. As a “colonist” who never had to pay a dime for her upkeep I must say it’s hard for me to understand how the government and people of the United Kingdom did not see her value as a really “alive” ambassador of the nation. Almost seems a shame to start all over again. But should the government decide to do so I hope they take care not to let Charles have his head

    • nmfd72

      not let Charles have his head?? who’s head??

  • Mike Hatton

    John Major made the decision to take Britannia away from HM as his Ministers did not have the balls to front with the money – typically they were like dogs peeing on poles protecting their own patch and to hell with the most valuable asset the UK ever had – Elizabeth 2. Then Tony Blair went along with it as it suited him to be able to blame the Tories. What a bunch of Tossers they are. Fact is the Britannia should be recommissioned and maintained in service. If the Danish Royal Family and others can maintain their yachts built well before Britannia then so should the UK be able to do likewise. It should never have been taken away from HM – and this is the opinion of an Australia republican who admires the Queen and all she represents and has done over the course of her reign

    • flydlbee

      The cost of refitting Britannia would probably exceed the cost of building a new one.

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