HMY Britannia

Military Tattoo Canongate Kirk HMY Britannia Edinburgh Castle Fringe Festival Royal Mile St Giles

HMY Britannia

Photos taken in August 2011



Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former Royal Yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. She was the 83rd such vessel since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. She is the second Royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the famous racing cutter built for The Prince of Wales in 1893. She is now permanently moored as an exhibition ship at Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland.



HMY Britannia was built at the shipyard of John Brown & Co. Ltd in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, UK, being launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 16 April 1953 and commissioned on 11 January 1954.



The ship was designed with three masts, a 133-foot (41 m) foremast, a 139-foot (42 m) mainmast, and a 118-foot (36 m) mizzenmast. The top 20 feet (6.1 m) of the foremast and mainmast were hinged, to allow the ship to pass under bridges.



flag locker

Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in time of war, although this has not yet been necessary.



During her career as Royal Yacht she 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).


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. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was aboard Britannia for part of this cruise; Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan also were later welcomed aboard the Yacht. Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise aboard Britannia in 1981. The ship also evacuated over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986.


map room

In 1997, John Major's Conservative government committed itself to replacing the Royal Yacht if re-elected, while the Labour Party declined to disclose its plans for the vessel. Following Labour's victory on 1 May 1997 it was announced that the vessel would be retired and no replacement would be built. The Conservative government argued that the cost of the vessel was justified by its role in foreign policy and promoting British interests abroad, particularly through conferences held by British Invisibles. When cancelling the replacement of the vessel, the new Labour government argued that the expenditure could not be justified given the other pressures on the defence budget (from which it would be funded and maintained). Proposals for the construction of a new royal yacht, perhaps financed through a loan or by the Sovereign's own funds, have since made little headway.


Captain's Cabin

The Royal Yacht's last foreign mission was to convey the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten (now The Lord Patten of Barnes), and the Prince of Wales away from Hong Kong after its handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. Britannia was decommissioned on 11 December 1997.


There was some controversy over the siting of the ship, with some arguing that she would be better moored on the Clyde, where she was built, than in Edinburgh, with which the yacht had few links. However, her positioning in Leith coincided with a redevelopment of the harbor area, and the advent of Scottish devolution.


Her Majesty the Queen attended the decommissioning, along with most of the senior members of the Royal Family, and the normally impassive monarch famously shed a tear publicly after disembarking for the last time.



Officer's Day Room











Post Office








Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, Britannia is now permanently moored as a five-star visitor attraction in the historic Port of Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, and is cared for by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a registered Scottish charity.


engine room


Entrance to the yacht is via the Ocean Terminal development, and over 250,000 people visit Britannia every year. She is also one of the UK's top evening events venues.  On 29 July 2011, a cocktail party was held on board the Britannia for Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips and her husband-to-be Mike Tindall to celebrate their upcoming wedding; the yacht had been hired for the occasion.


A retired Rolls-Royce Phantom V state car, owned by the royal family in the 1960s, is on display in the purpose-built garage aboard Britannia. Other highlights of the tour of the five decks that are open to the public include the Queen's Bedroom (behind a glass wall), and the State Dining Room. The Royal Deck Tea Room opened in 2009.

Text from Wikipedia

Photos of the State Rooms

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