‘It’s a disgrace that Great Britain – a maritime nation – does not have a flagship’

Graph with Royal Yacht Britannia and YES and NO columns
An exclusive Telegraph poll reveals that an overwhelming 80 per cent of over 5,000 readers are in support of a Royal Yacht Britannia replacement

Commons leader Penny Mordaunt last week unveiled plans for three multi-purpose ships to “fly the flag” for the UK and act as a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Built in British shipyards, the vessels would undertake a range of roles, including disaster relief, ocean clean-up, tackling illegal migration and research.

Unlike a previous plan under Boris Johnson, the proposed vessels would be commercially built, then operated and funded by the private sector.

Upon hearing the news, Telegraph readers were quick to make their thoughts on the proposal known. Our exclusive poll revealed an overwhelming 80 per cent of over 5,000 readers were in support of a Royal Yacht Britannia replacement.

For many, a new Royal Yacht Britannia was seen as a way to bring vast sums of money into the country.

Telegraph reader Darryl Haddaway, for example, argues that “£150 million is a small price to pay for a national flagship”, as he claims that “the amount of business it could drum up for the UK would dwarf that figure”.

Similarly, reader Howard Stollery notes: “Over the years, the Royal Yacht served as a very valuable asset to enhance Britain’s commercial capabilities as well as to bring joy to the royal household.

“A form of prestige and acknowledgement for the service the monarchy brings, not only to Britain, and in its service and value to the free world.

“If Ms Mordaunt succeeds in the replacement plans, one can but imagine the benefits this project will make possible, such as the aspect of maritime utility in the time of conflict, disaster and the rest.”

Others showed support for the project as a way of promoting the best of Britain.

Reader Simon Cole deems it “a disgrace” that “Great Britain, a maritime nation with a wonderful naval tradition, does not have a flagship.”

Michael Bilton highlights the “brilliant job” the Royal Yacht Britannia did at promoting Britain.

Mr Bilton describes the yacht as a “restful and totally private floating home for our beloved Queen, when she travelled the world as the top ambassador for the UK and the Commonwealth.

“When Britannia was overseas and the Queen was not on board, it was like a floating embassy that elevated our country in so many ways – when important foreigners came on board for different events – that made Britain shine in the eyes of others. Sending it to Scotland was the worst decision Blair made.”

On Mr Bilton’s last point, another reader, David Tozer, says: “A thing that undoes some of the damage that Blair did to this country is to be welcomed - this was a great ship to represent the nation.”

However, reader George Lawson shows support for the replacement when used privately, but does not approve of its commercial use.

Mr Lawson asks: “How can a Royal Yacht be used in so many different roles and be called a Royal Yacht?”

“As a Royal Yacht, it would have to be furnished to the highest possible standard, so how can a Royal Yacht be used for cleaning the seas and disaster work with different, totally incompatible roles?”

He goes on to add: “And who would take priority over its use when a disaster occurs somewhere across the world, or the sea needs cleaning? A silly idea I’m afraid.

“I’m in favour of a Royal Yacht, which, as with Britannia, would be great and safe for royal entertainment across the world, and would retain its exclusive use for our head of state.

“£150 million to retrieve some of the country’s lost status is peanuts, and would easily be raised from private subscribers if it is exclusively for the use of royal representatives and perhaps government.”

‘The taxpayer cannot afford more luxury’

A minority of 20 per cent of the more than 5,000 Telegraph readers who voted were against the idea of a Royal Yacht Britannia replacement – arguing it should be a non-priority expense given the current state of the country.

Telegraph reader Richard Roberts, shares how, despite considering himself “pro-royal and patriotic,” he believes “now is not the time” to fund a replacement.

“The ‘optics’ of this are terrible at a time when so many people are struggling. Why a government would devote any political bandwidth to this, with so much in the UK needing to be fixed, is beyond understanding.”

The same sentiment is shared by reader Peter Radford, who believes a replacement of the Royal Yacht would become “just another status symbol for the elites to use for their ego trips.

“A privileged few – in industry, politics and royalty – would use it for the type of entertainment they should be doing using their own money, not the money that is left.

“Taxpayers’ money is squandered on Left-wing causes and putting up immigrants in plush accommodation. We cannot afford more luxury.”

‘It’s not vessels we lack but a coherent strategy’

Others were sceptical of the funding.

Jon Ball, for example, writes: “Seriously? Funded exclusively by the private sector? And when the money runs out - turn to the taxpayer.”

Mr Ball also takes issue with the report that the vessels could be used in operations to tackle illegal migration. He argues: “We already have all these Royal Navy and Coastguard vessels which have great capabilities but have achieved zilch in terms of stopping cross Channel migration. It’s not vessels we lack but a coherent strategy.”

Some also claimed that, while the vessel had meaning for the late Queen, times have now changed.

Reader Andrew Hicks believes “time has moved on” and claims that all the ship would do now is “display Britain as being a nation stuck in the past and not the fast-paced, knowledge-based business of today. We should try thinking about the future!”

Similarly, Telegraph reader Sara Socav argues that “the world this yacht belongs to is long gone,” as she states that “image and globalisation have no relevance today.”

Would you support a Royal Yacht Britannia replacement? Join the conversation in the comments section below