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  #61  
Old 04-02-2012, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyger View Post
Why in the world did she let it happen?
Short of buying it and paying for all aspects of its operation (the costs of which would be considerable, even for her*), there's not really anything she could have done.

*Edit: This record from Parliamentary debates in 1996 indicates that the annual operating cost was between 10 and 12 million pounds. The Queen is wealthy, but I'm not sure she's wealthy enough or liquid enough to be able to take on that kind of expense every year.
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  #62  
Old 04-03-2012, 03:03 AM
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Modern yachts are amazing. They could have a really cool yacht if they wanted. I understand that the Britannica was a happy way for the Queen to travel abroad and be able to entertain foreign heads of state at the same time.

Why no more royal yacht?
The royal yacht was called the Britannia, which has no C in it. It is and was simply too expensive to keep the yacht or to buy a new one. As Wbenson says The Queen does not have that kind of money "to have a really cool yacht" to splash around in the face on continuing recession. I doubt she "let" it happen, if she had her say she would have kept it. But the Yacht was furnished by the government, and Blair didn't want to pay any more. Yes she did cry when the yacht was decommissioned.
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  #63  
Old 04-03-2012, 04:05 AM
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.....and if you ever have the chance to visit Britannia you will understand why Her Majesty cried when it was decommisioned. I was told, that despite the very cramped conditions in the crews' quarters (a man with a large nose would find it impossible to sleep on his back in the top bunks) there was never a shortage of willing volunteers to sail on her.
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  #64  
Old 04-03-2012, 09:20 AM
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Ah, methinks I am confusing the Britannia with the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Let's hope a kindly mod who happens along will correct the spelling in the thread's title, because it looks like I cannot.
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  #65  
Old 04-03-2012, 07:23 PM
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The reason it wasn't replaced was pure and simple class jealousy on the part of the left wing Labour Party. 10-12m per year for a yacht which provided massive benefits - both financially and reputationally for the UK - is chicken feed in the scheme of things.

In 1997 the UK economy was booming, we were enjoying pretty much full employment, public spending was on the brink of being massively increased (the government duped people by calling it 'investment', actually it involved spending many billions we didn't have) and there was a feeling of the UK finally having shrugged off the shackles of post WW2 decline.

Despite all this, the Labour govt. decided to reverse the former Conservative government's decision to replace Britannia. This came down to 'the Queen's a rich woman, why should we pay for her yacht?'. Hugely short-sighted, jealous class ridden decision making. Tony Blair admits it was probably the wrong decision.

As an aside, the same can be said of the decision to ban fox hunting. Parliament spent many, many hours debating banning it ( they apparently didn't feel there was anything more serious to discuss, like the Iraq war, say). Hunting with hounds was a fairly efficient way of dealing with the problem of foxes devastating farmers' flocks, encroaching on towns and cities and growing larger and more willing to be around built up areas (with all the risk that entails). The reason it was banned, no matter what anyone tells you, is that fox hunting was something 'posh' people did and therefore the class warriors on the left wanted to ban it. The fact that many non-posh people were involved and reliant on it was conveniently ignored. Never underestimate the jealous, petty side of the British character ; the 'I'm not wealthy so I resent anyone who is' syndrome.
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  #66  
Old 04-03-2012, 08:29 PM
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Thank you, EIIR. Very full explanation. Gives a good context.

Now you have Mr. Cameron - but it's not likely there will be a change of heart - because of the austerity cuts I'm guessing. Will it ever happen again that the royals will have a yacht? I thought it was a very cool piece of royal display. Must have been so very comfy - especially given all the traveling that royals can do - a yacht really is a place that has one's 'scent' upon it instead of always being in strange beds. I think the Queen made that reflection once herself - or along those lines.

LATER: I've read some of the thread and see there has been plans afoot. I do hope they get a new yacht but Jacknch brings up the obvious - why not just take the old ship out of dry dock and refurbish it - if cost is a concern?

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Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
I'm not sure I would think a new royal yacht would be approved. The price for a new royal yacht has, I think, been put at 60m, which is a drop in the ocean (so to speak!) compared to the billions wasted on other things. However, the cost of updating/refurbishing Royal Yacht Britannia was put at 11m (back in 1997), so I wonder how much it would cost to start using Royal Yacht Britannia again and whether it could pay for itself by continuing to allow paying visitors (Buckingham Palace get's quite a good revenue when it opens to the public. Just a thought.
I think they should just do it. These folks (the royals) are going all over the place. As the Queen mentioned once - having the yacht was a way of reciprocating invitations in foreign parts. I mean, if one is to have a monarchy - go all out, I say.
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  #67  
Old 04-04-2012, 05:16 AM
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I think the idea of the new ship is that it wouldn't be a Royal Yacht as such - it would have a secondary but limited ability to host the Queen and guests on certain occasions. It's main use, however, would be as a training and research ship, mainly for children and young people. It would be carbon neutral and do all sorts of environmental experiments and research.

Britannia is a completely different beast. She would require many millions of pounds worth of renovation, and then on top of that she's become a significant tourist attraction in Edinburgh and I think they would be very unhappy to have to give her back.

You can read more about the proposal here (note the Royal Yacht aspect of it is not being heavily emphasised):

University of the Oceans | Home
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  #68  
Old 04-25-2012, 10:37 AM
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Resplendent in red! Queen brightens the gloom as she names Gloriana, the first royal barge to be built in 100 years
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The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh today braved heavy rain and driving winds to name a spectacular barge built to mark the Jubilee. The royal couple travelled to the East London dock where Gloriana is currently moored, awaiting the moment when it will make its way to Wandsworth Bridge on the Thames from where it will lead the Jubilee pageant on 3 June. Dressed in a bright red coat and hat that cut a swathe through the morning's gloom, the monarch descended a gangway at Greenland Pier on the Thames in London's Docklands before boarding the Gloriana.
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  #69  
Old 05-28-2012, 04:33 PM
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An update on the campaign for a new Royal Yacht. It would appear that there are now 3 rival groups hoping to give the Queen a new yacht. You wait 15 years with no yacht and then apparently 3 come along at once. From today's Times which is paywalled:

Quote:
Just six months ago a royal yacht was nothing but a fond memory for the Queen.

Now, 15 years after Britannia was decommissioned, there are no fewer than three plans to raise money for a replacement, The Times can reveal.

An appeal is launched today to raise 60 million from the public to buy a yacht for the Queen by the end of the year. That coincides with the launch of another project, to build a flagship for the Commonwealth which will also be available for use by the Queen.

The two schemes follow the revelation in January of plans to build a training and scientific research sailing ship which could also be used by the Royal Family. The concept of a royal yacht has long been a politically divisive issue.

Britannia was taken out of service in the first year of Tony Blair’s Government after Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, decreed that she was too expensive to replace, although Mr Blair later said that he regretted going through with the decision.

Since then, ardent monarchists have doggedly pursued the idea of a replacement. The privately funded training ship project known as FSP21 — Future Ship Project 21st Century — was endorsed by David Cameron after lobbying from Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, and David Willetts, the Higher Education Minister.

The latest idea for a yacht is the Jubilee Yacht Appeal, launched by a group of business associates including Elaine Skinner, chief executive of the charity fundraising platform giveonthemobile.com, which is waiving its normal fees.

She said: “A Diamond Jubilee yacht dedicated to the Queen and her charities would be a celebration of her achievements, a beacon of hope and reminder of what we can achieve as a nation when we all pull together. We are saying to everybody, ‘Come along, give us 1, let’s make this happen in the year of the Diamond Jubilee’.

“The Queen loved Britannia. But that is no longer available. This is not just about the Queen, it is about her charities. They would be able to use the boat to raise funds. It could also be used for corporate days and business events to raise the funds for maintenance and running costs.”

The announcement has prompted an inevitable war of words between the rival schemes as each tries to promote its case. Miss Skinner said that her appeal had the advantage of not building a new vessel from scratch. “That’s a five-year plan,” she said. “We are looking for a yacht that is available. And we want to do it this year, for her Diamond Jubilee. It is a mammoth challenge but it is extremely exciting.”

The other plan launched this week is for the 100 million Commonwealth Flagship, a proposal put forward by Ian Maiden, a retired businessman.

The 127 metre vessel, designed by the late Jon Bannenberg, would be a marketing tool for Commonwealth countries that could also be used by the Queen for state occasions. It would be funded in part by contributions in kind from member countries.

Mr Maiden said: “A royal yacht as such belongs to a bygone era. The primary role would be for the Commonwealth. But it is rather good if the Queen, as head of State, can have access to a suitable boat from time to time. If it was to be used privately it would have to be paid for. I wanted something a bit like Britannia, but six decades younger and leaner and fitter. It would have 80 crew instead of 250.”

Mr Maiden mooted a similar idea with a group of businessmen a decade ago, but that foundered after Mr Blair failed to give it his backing.

Of the Future Ship Project, he suggested that that would have such a busy educational and scientific role that there would be “no room for the Queen”.

He said: “The two proposals are in direct competition with one another. There hasn’t been this degree of rivalry since the days of the first royal yacht when Charles II acquired his Jachtship from his Dutch friends in 1660.”

Rear-Admiral David Bawtree, the former commander of the naval base at Portsmouth who is behind the Future Ship Project, said that there was “room for confusion among the public” between the three schemes. “I think ours is doing something for young people. In 50 years’ time, 60,000 people would have benefited from the training opportunities that we offer.”

Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the plans.
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/u...cle3427935.ece

This looks like turning into a very British fudge. Surely these people can get together and put one proposal to the public? 3 different proposals simply dilutes the support that's out there and makes the likelihood of any one proposal succeeding much smaller.
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  #70  
Old 05-28-2012, 05:03 PM
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Or maybe they can go ahead with all three projects and present Her Majesty with three different yachts; that way she'll have her own private little flotilla.
If seriously, I completely agree with you; a single project that unites benefits from all three will have more chances to actually succeed.
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  #71  
Old 05-28-2012, 05:19 PM
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Much as I think HM would love another royal yacht, I think she's more than clever enough to spot the elephant in the room. Let's say you raise 60 million. That's not out of the realms of possibility given the apparent support from some very wealthy business people (Lord Ashcroft, for example, has publicly promised 1 million of his own money for the FSP21 proposal).

The problem for the Queen becomes the thorny issue of running costs. If there's a realistic plan for the vessel to literally pay for itself, I think the Queen would love it. If not, I don't think she'd touch it with a 40 foot pole.
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  #72  
Old 05-28-2012, 05:28 PM
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I agree with you.
Once the overwhelming goodwill connected with the Jubilee is gone, there will be the usual "taxpayer's money" type of stories. It is highly unrealistic to think the Queen will personally meet the maintenance costs, and unless the yacht doesn't serve some purpose to meet the costs, it will be a horrible PR for the Royal Family.
I was wondering, could they turn it into a museum when it's not in use? Similar to Buckingham palace. Since all royal visits and vacations are planned months in advance, it shouldn't be too hard to open it for public visits for a couple of months every year.
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  #73  
Old 06-04-2012, 12:34 PM
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Personally I'm in favor of the Royal Family having use of a new yacht for personal and business purposes. I think that as well as being a loved holiday home, away from us all, it was also a well used utility for state occasions, not least, repeatedly, for hosting Commonwealth Conferences.

I think it's fair to say, in the past, they may have taken many of their privileges for granted. But I think times have changed, for all of us. The problem with Britannia was it's excessive running costs and not just a crew of 280. What was never shown in the images of it at sea, was that following it was it's own oil tanker! It was a total gas guzzler, built at a time when conserving energy and fuel wasn't even on the horizon. We will never know why HM didn't choose to fund the 11m engineering refurbishments to make it more energy efficient or even if it was possible to do. I suspect it's a decision that's regretted.

Since losing Britannia, HM has privately hired yachts for family holidays, I believe for 100,000 per holiday, off the isles of Scotland and is probably now far more appreciative of what they had, as well as any running costs.

Watching some of the jubilee documentaries, there are some extraordinary insights made public. Such as Britannia was the only home they had where could choose their own furnishings and fittings. While I'm sure this is true and why it meant so much to them, hasn't this more to do with the amount of personal control they've handed to courtiers. There is no reason why they cannot enjoy making their homes suit themselves as much as all the rest of us do. I really think the future of our British Monarchy is best serviced by them moving faster away from lifestyles based on Edwardian excess. The Queen's grandchildren insist on balancing purposeful and rewarding lives around royal duties and I think they are right to do so.

I am in favor of a yacht for the royals. But I don't think it should be paid from public tax. Neither do I think it should solely be paid by only wealthy industrialists, who seem always to want to separate royalty from from the general public, for their own benefit. I think an open fund for donations from all citizens of the commonwealth for a yacht, that when not used by the family is used for state occasions, charities and open to the public like other royal residences so it's running costs can be recouped would be a national asset.
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  #74  
Old 06-04-2012, 06:50 PM
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The issue with how Britannia was decorated etc was very much that they had a say in the actual design not just the decoration and furnishings so it was the home that they planned and had a say in building.

They had no say in the design or building of Windsor, BP, Holyrood, Balmoral or Sandringham as they inherited those homes already built and even deciding which rooms to use for what was already pretty much a given. Sure they could make some changes within the private apartments but not to the locations of those apartments or the internal structures etc - that was done in past centuries.

It's not unlike the difference between buying someone else's home and making that yours or building your dream home from scratch to suit you - having done the former and in the process of doing the latter I know which home will be the more 'mine'.
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  #75  
Old 06-04-2012, 07:34 PM
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Britannia also had a secondary function which the public weren't aware of at the time. It was essentially a floating bunker that the Queen would be sent to in case of a catastrophic terrorist attack or huge nuclear incident. I suppose the PM would have been dispatched there also.

In the UK we don't really have a version of Air Force One in the US. We have the Queen's Flight but it's made up of a much smaller aircraft which a fairly limited range; it's also pretty old at this stage. I remember reading somewhere that Tony Blair once arrived at an EU summit in a chartered Austrian Airways plane, which is just embarrassing.

In the UK we don't take long-term decisions. We just see the upfront cost and shy away from it instead of working out how efficient a national jet or royal yacht would be over their lifetimes of say 20 years.
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  #76  
Old 06-04-2012, 07:42 PM
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Yes it is amazing isn't it that a post WWII Britain, poor and still rebuilding its industry and dealing with unemployment and some rationing, could make the decision to build a new royal yacht (creating employment in the Scottish shipyard) but the Blair government in a financially secure Britain was too short sighted to see the long term benefits of the yacht as a symbol of both the monarchy and of Britain around the world. It did not fit in with their idea of cool Britannia.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:18 PM
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You're absolutely right, NGalitzine. I think that class envy played a big part in the decision not to replace Britannia too.
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  #78  
Old 06-15-2012, 01:02 AM
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Has there been any more news on this? I think having a royal yacht was wonderful, and I think it's especially good for tours of the Commonwealth. I think it would help keep the crumbling Commonwealth together?
As for the royal family paying for it themselves, is that not like sending an employee on a buisness trip and then asking them to pay their airfares and hotel bills? Although I know Britannia was used privately as well so it is a bit more complicated than that. I don't see the royal family paying for one themselves, and I certainly don't see the government paying for one.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:41 PM
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Marking 60 years since the launch of the royal yacht with some fascinating facts:
Marking 60 years since the launch of the royal yacht with some fascinating facts | UK | News | Daily Express

I think it's such a shame that the Royal Yacht Britannia was taken away from the British Royal Family. They were able to do their job on serving the nation on this yacht. The Danish, Dutch and Norwegian royals have managed to keep their yachts but it's like pulling teeth on getting another yacht for the British Royals or even the thought of putting Britannia back into service. It's just sad.

I think there should be another Royal Yacht commissioned when Charles is King.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:23 PM
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Fit for the Queen: Original sketched designs for Royal Yacht Britannia's interior go on display for the first time after 60 years:
Fit for the Queen: Original sketched designs for Royal Yacht Britannia's interior go on display for the first time after 60 years | Mail Online
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