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The Queen

Is the Royal Yacht Britannia about to make a comeback?

As Theresa May prepares to leave 10 Downing Street, there is mounting speculation in Westminster that her replacement could commission a new Royal Yacht for The Queen.

Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the two men fighting to become the next Prime Minister, are enthusiastic about the idea of a new Royal Yacht, which would cost around £120m to recommission.

Speaking a couple of years ago when he was Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson said that the commissioning of a new Royal Yacht would “add greatly” to the soft power of the United Kingdom.

The former Mayor of London did say, however, that taxpayers should not fund a new royal yacht if one were 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 the government would be able to consider.”

The current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also publicly backed plans to build a new Royal Yacht, however, he does not wish to see public funds used to build the vessel.

Mr Hunt supported a campaign in December 2018 to back a new Royal Yacht, arguing the ship could help secure trade deals in a post-Brexit Britain.

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

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).