Where is the Royal Yacht Britannia and why was it decommissioned?

·2-min read
The Royal Yacht Britannia sails into Portsmouth (Roger Littler/PA)
The Royal Yacht Britannia sails into Portsmouth (Roger Littler/PA)

Queen Elizabeth’s farewell to the Royal Yacht in 1997 was one of the only occasions in her 70-year-reign that Her Majesty publicly shed a tear.

Almost 25 years ago, HMY Britannia left Portsmouth for a farewell tour around the UK. It went to six major ports across the UK, including Glasgow.

Why was the Royal Yacht Britannia decommissioned and where is it today?

Why was it decommissioned?

The Royal Yacht was decommissioned in 1994 by John Major’s Government because “the costs were too great”, according to the official website.

The decision was made after the Royal Yacht was used for a long and successful journey spanning 44 years and travelling more than one million miles across the globe.

The issue of a new royal yacht became a political issue in the run-up to the 1997 General Election, when the new Labour Government came into power.

After the election, Tony Blair’s Government confirmed in October 1997 there would be no replacement for Britannia.

It marked the end of a long tradition of British royal yachts, dating back to 1660 and the reign of Charles II.

Where is the HMY Britannia?

Britannia is permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal, Leith, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Today, the Royal yacht is open to curious visitors and welcomes more than 300,000 visits each year.

Britannia was launched in 1953 from the John Brown and Company shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland.

Its purpose was to serve the Royal Family and it was the first to be built with complete ocean-going capacity, designed as a royal residence to entertain guests around the world.

For more than 44 years, it travelled more than one million miles with Her Majesty for state visits, official receptions, royal honeymoons, and relaxing family holidays.

Britannia quickly became one of the most famous ships in the world and now stands as a majestic symbol of Great Britain.