When the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned in 1997 as a cost-cutting measure by the British government, not everyone was impressed by the decision.
Rumours of a new royal yacht, have now been reignited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the wake of Prince Philip’s death, as a tribute to the Duke Of Edinburgh. The Duke would have probably have preferred to have used a new vessel whilst he was still alive, rather than waiting until his death!
The Ministry of Defence is in the process of drawing up plans for a £200m ‘trade and investment’ vessel to serve as a successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia and as a lasting memorial to the duke – perhaps a memorial of the boat that they took away from the Royals.
The new ship is expected to be named HMS Prince Philip and will boost British trade and drive investment into the UK economy. The ship would be crewed by the Royal Navy, senior sources have said. It will be the first official government commemoration to Prince Philip.
the new yacht will be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson “within weeks”
HMY Britannia was controversially decommissioned by Labour prime minister Tony Blair in 1997. That decision “signalled the end of an unbroken succession of royal yachts dating back to the reign of King Charles II”, the Duke wrote in Britannia’s official history in 2003. Boris is keen to put the Tories back in a good light with the establishment and stick one up to the Labour party at the same time.
The announcement – named Project Leith, is named after the Edinburgh district where the original yacht is moored, not after Prue Leith from the Great British Bake-Off! The Project has been held up by a dispute over whether the ship is to be paid for by the Ministry of Defence or the Cabinet Office.
The cost of building the vessel could be as much as £200m, with MPs requesting for the ship to be built in the UK. The PM views this as a great opportunity to score a few more Brownie points, and doesn’t really care where the money comes from, as the reasons are good enough to justify the expense.
Downing Street has not denied the reports, with a spokesperson saying: “The prime minister has an exciting vision for shipbuilding in this country and is committed to making the UK a shipbuilding superpower”. All thanks to just one ship!