The Royal Yacht Britannia, in case you haven’t heard of it, is the most famous ship in the world – for all the right reasons, I’d like to add here. She isn’t remembered for the great tragedy that could’ve been averted (like the Titanic) and neither is she an unsolved mystery of modern times (like the Mary Celeste). No, the Royal Yacht Britannia, launched on the 16th April 1953 at John Brown’s Shipyard in Clydebank served the British Royal Family for more than 40 years, before being finally decommissioned in 1997.
The Royal Yacht Britannia was originally meant to be a mobile haven for the Royal Family, in case nuclear war broke out with the Soviet Union. This queenly vessel has sailed all over the globe, all the way up to Antarctica and back, clocking more than a million miles. In addition to having carried British diplomats and dignitaries to over 900 official voyages, it was also used by the Royal Family for holidays and recreational getaways.
In addition to being a second home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family the Yacht was also a grand host to political figures, kings, queens, prime ministers and presidents who no doubt recreated, rewrote and reconstructed history while they were on board. Among the world leaders who have enjoyed the lavish hospitality of this famous yacht are Nelson Mandela, Sir Winston Churchill, and Bill Clinton.
The Royal Yacht has played an important role in world history, no doubt, but there’s another aspect of this ship that not too many people are aware of – a slightly more romantic one at that. Four royal honeymoons have taken place aboard this Yacht, including that of the most celebrated political couple in the world perhaps – Princess Diana and Prince Charles.
After it was decommissioned, Her Majesty the Queen declared that no other Royal Yacht would ever replace the Britannia. Today, moored permanently at Leith, Edinburgh, this magnificent vessel has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland. BBC News calls it “Scotland’s leading visitor-friendly attraction” and it has received Conde Nast Johansen’s prestigious UK’s Most Excellent Dedicated Venue title.
People curious to get a more intimate insight into the lifestyle of Royalty can sign up for a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia. First, they are piped aboard after which they are taken on a personal tour of the yacht. Canapés and cocktails are served in the State Apartments, which is also where the evening events are hosted. After dinner entertainment include dancing to jazz or ceilidh band or a fireworks show. You can round off the trip by shopping at the Royal Yacht Britannia Shop to carry back a souvenir to remind you of the grand evening you enjoyed aboard one of the finest ships to have ever sailed the seas.