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The Royal Yacht Britannia

Edinburgh, Scotland

After arriving in Edinburgh, we dropped our luggage off, grabbed an Uber and headed to the Royal Yacht Britannia. This was an absolute must see for me in Edinburgh since it has a royal connection and I have a new obsession with royal history.

If I am being proper, technically the vessel is called the Royal Yacht Britannia, and was the former royal yacht of Queen Elizabeth II from 1954 until 1997. The Royal Yacht was originally going to be built for King George VI, the Queen's father, but he died a day after plans for the ship were confirmed, so the Queen oversaw the commissioning of the yacht. It was constructed in John Brown & Co shipyards, one of the most famous shipyards in the world, with the keel being laid in 1952. Britannia is moored in the historic Port of Leith in Edinburgh. The yacht has travelled more than a million nautical miles around the globe, including to Chicago, Illinois. Britannia was designed to be able to be converted into a hospital ship if necessary, but this capability was never used. When the yacht was on royal duties, it was escorted by a Royal Navy warship. US Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were welcomed aboard, respectively. Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana took their honeymoon cruise on Britannia in 1981. In 2011, Zara Phillips (the Queen's granddaughter) and Mike Tindall held their pre-wedding drinks reception onboard the yacht. A retired Rolls-Royce Phantom V state car used by the Queen from the early 1960s until 2002 is parked in the purpose-built garage aboard Britannia. The Queen's former racing yacht Bloodhound is berthed next to the yacht. The decommissioning of the yacht in December 1997 was very emotional for everyone. The tour gave you the feeling that Britannia was a sanctuary for the royals. Britannia is now part of the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust.

The Royal Yacht Britannia Website: https://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk


Bow of the yacht

Attempting to get a full view of the yacht

The Britannia is berthed in Leith Port at Ocean Terminal. Ocean Terminal is a mall and the entrance to the yacht started from the mall. It was quite unusual to begin the tour this way. Our tour of the Britannia started in the Bridge.

In no particular order, we'll start with the Royal apartments:
The Queen's Room

The Duke's Room

The Queen's Sitting Room

The Duke's Sitting Room

The Honeymoon Suite with the only double bed onboard the Britannia.

State dining room

Example of the Queen's place setting

Artifacts from State dining room

Anteroom. The bookshelf in the corner of the picture was taken from the Victoria & Albert III. The Victoria & Albert III preceded Britannia as the Royal Yacht. Royal Yachts date back to 1660 and King Charles II's Mary, which was a gift from Amsterdam. In all, there have been 83 Royal Yachts.

State Drawing Room

Welmar grand piano form the State Drawing room, which reportedly cost 350 GBP.

The Sun Lounge was reportedly the Queen's favorite room onboard the ship.

The royals were separated from the crew, whose quarters were not as glamorous.

The yacht's sick bay

Laundry room

When the Queen went ashore, she used the royal barge. There were two vehicles onboard in the garage for the Queen to use. The Land Rover and the Rolls-Royce. The vehicles had to be hoisted into a special transporter to be lowered onto the ground. The Rolls-Royce's bumpers had to be removed for the vehicle to be hoisted. Later on, it was realized a suitable vehicle could be found for the Queen in the country she was visiting, so they rarely took the Rolls-Royce onboard and turned the garage into a beer store.

As we walked around, we noticed a few interesting signs.

The Royal Racing Yacht Bloodhound berthed next to Britannia

I really enjoyed the tour of the Britannia. It really felt much more personal than some of the palaces and castles belonging to the royal family. There were two fantastic guides onboard, Tim and Andrew, who were so helpful and nice and entertained several questions from us. I wouldn't mind going back for another visit at some point.

Onto the Palace of Holyroodhouse...

Posted by LCP 08:32 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh ocean yacht terminal royals britannia leith bloodhound

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