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Royal Yacht Britannia: The facts

What did the royal bedrooms look like? Did The Queen live in the lap of luxury while at sea? Get aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh's historic port Leith to see for yourself.

Royal yacht - Uses and cost

The Royal Yacht Britannia is the 83rd royal yacht that has been commissioned to carry a British monarch. The first such vessel was launched in 1660 during the reign of Charles II. Royal voyages and famous guests Since its launch on April 16, 1953, the Royal Britannia has carried Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family on 968 official voyages, traveling a total of over 1 million nautical miles and calling at over 600 ports in 135 countries. The Britannia has been used by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh for official tours. It has also been used for entertaining and receptions as well as for honeymoon tours (Princess Margaret 1960, Prince Anne’s 1973, Prince Charles and Lady Diana's 1981). It has been estimated that while in commission, the Royal Yacht cost the public £7,000 a week when in service and £4,000 when stationary, not including the cost of fuel. Famous guests on the Britannia included Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Boris Yeltsin.

Royal Britannia's interior

The Britannia features five decks (among which the Royal Deck Tea Room), State Apartments, the State Dining Room and Drawing Room and even a garage which houses one of The Queen’s Rolls-Royces. Modest interiors The Royal Britannia’s royal apartments were designed by Sir Hugh Casson in classic post-war style and are distinguished by their modest elegance. Britannia was not meant to be opulent but offers instead country-house comfort. The Queen’s and the Duke Edinburgh’s bedrooms are surprisingly unassuming. The visitor who expects regal luxury and extravagance will not find it here. The Royal Yacht Britannia was fitted in such a way that it could be transformed into a hospital in time of war. The facilities included an operating table, a sick bay and a dentist’s chair. In the event of the Falklands war of 1982, the ship was not deemed worthy of deployment.

Last voyage

The Royal Britannia sailed for the last time in January 1997 to Hong Kong. It was her longest journey and an end of an era for Great Britain as it marked the end of 150 years of British control of Hong Kong. British Governor of Hong Kong Christopher Patten boarded the Royal Yacht to return home.

Visit the Royal Yacht

After 44 years of service, the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned in December 1997. It is now permanently moored in Edinburgh. The ship allows visitors, has a gift shop and can be hired to host events.

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