Inside Royal Yacht that cost £11m-a-year to run as Mordaunt unveils replacement

Penny Mordaunt recently unveiled designs for three new ships to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia and represent Brexit Britain around the world.

But the floating palace was more than just a royal yacht throughout its 44-year-old service to the Commonwealth.

The famous ship was the last of 83 Royal Yachts.

It was launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 16 April 1953 using a bottle of wine – not champagne – to not seem as too frivolous.

Britannia travelled over one million nautical miles on 968 state visits and she was famous across the globe for hosting magnificent state receptions and banquets.

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She also housed royal honeymoons and holidays over her 44 years sailing the world’s seas.

Britannia entertained world leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan and Rajiv Gandhi.

The luxury 400-foot-long ship was also very close to the late Queen’s heart, as she once said Britannia “is the one place where I can truly relax”.

The late Queen’s favourite room on board was the Sun Lounge, where she would enjoy breakfast and afternoon tea.

The Royal Family used it for an annual trip to the west coast of Scotland.

The ship was also used for Charles and Diana’s honeymoon in 1981, whilst Prince William and Prince Harry shared relaxing memories on its decks.

But by 1997 the ship had become too costly to run – at an eye-watering £11million per year.

With repairs at a proposed cost of £17million, Tony Blair’s new Labour government were unwilling to commit public funds to replace Britannica, so Her late Majesty’s beloved boat was decommissioned.

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Since December 1997, the clocks have been kept at 3:01pm – the exact moment the Queen went ashore for the last time following the ship’s decommissioning ceremony, during which the Queen shed a rare public tear.

But Brits can still go see the luxurious ship in all her glory with some 300,000 visiting every year.

Since the beginning of April 1998, the Royal Yacht Britannia has been anchored in Edinburgh.

Visitors can access most areas of the ship from the petty officers’ quarters to the engine room via the Royal Family’s deck.

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