The Royal Yacht Britannia.
The Royal Yacht Britannia - Video Transcript
The Royal Yacht Britannia set sail in 1953, for 44 years the British Royal Family and their guests had exclusive access to the ship.
R etired in 1997 it is now docked in Lieth Edinburgh, at a specially designed Exhibition Centre. You explore the yachts history before fetching an audio guide to tour the ship itself. This classic looking ship was adored by the Queen, she was close to tears when it was decommissioned, she did almost 1,000 journeys and one milion miles, today areas like the bridge here feel basic, simple, almost crude, in it's day it had leading technology and system.
Over two hundered and forty crew were onboard led by the Admiral, his quarters just behind the bridge with large by seafaring standards even including a dining table that could seat 8 people.
Out on deck is one of the many unusual features of the Royal Yacht, a garage containg the Queen's own rolls-royce for use when the ship docked on official visits. The veranda deck is a large deck expance to the rear of the ship, during voyages the royal family would relax play and entertain themselves, today tourests entertain themselves by ringing the grand Royal Yacht bell.
Just off the deck is a wood-paneled formal and very casual sitting room with a bar and comfortable summer furniture, it leads directly into the bedroom area of the yacht, the most popular bedroom on the tour is the queens bedroom most comment how small the bed seems, decor is muted simple and classic, next to her room is the Duke of Edinburgh's bedroom again it iis simple and fussy although this time a touch more masculine, across the hall is the bedroom called the honeymoon suite it's the only one with a double bed reportedly added Prince Charles and Dianas honeymoon.
Back out on deck you can climb up to the royal deck tearoom located where the receptions used to be held it now serves meals and afternoon teas it has an extensive menu with teacakes and buns, always been popular stop about half way through the tour the next part of the royal yacht tour takes you further down into the ship to explore the officers bar and wardroom there are up to 20 officers on board they had their own bar this impressive diningroom where royal marine band members would sometimes play during meals. Some of the kitchens to staffed by chefs from the royal household today the kitchens prepare meals for the tearooms and corporate events onboard.
The glass and china pantry displays the cookery used to insure service and the silver pantry the gorgeous range of silver. The state dinningroom is one of the most impressive features of the royal yacht a busy venu during state visits around the world it can now be hired for exclusive corporate events and functions just outside the state diningroom is the queens sittingroom wish you would review documents sent in a red box every day no matter where in the world she was, the duke of Edinburgh had a similar sittingrrom to also work in all the royal apartment areas onboard were disigned by Sir Hugh Casson with some heavy influence from the Queen and Prince Philip on taste style and colour, rooms like the main formal sittingroom have a real country house feel despite being on a ship, you then ventured further down to the ship to explore more crew areas starting with Peirs and sargents mess they also had their own bar ocasionaly inviting royal guests to visit but shared bunk sleeping quarters the Royal Marine Band accompanied the royal family on official visits sleeping quarters was similarly cramped shared with bunk beds.
The shop making and selling fudge on board did not exist when the ship was in service has a popular addition with visitors today. Crew off of duty was segment by rank the warant officers and cpos even had their own bar despite the rank even their sleeping quarters where shared and slightly more private. A tiny post bringing letters from home was popular less popular was the sick bay with is unusual bunk style patientless and it's rather ominous full operating theatre. The large laundry dealt with the huge volume of crew and royalty their respective laundry being done on diferent days, the engine room was this pristine and operating, the queen would bring guests down to view them, she was so proud. Yachtsmen, the bulk of the 200 plus crew eat in the small steel canteen their sleeping quarters were much more crowded and compact while their bathroom facilities were rows of basins and showers after touring the ship you can view the beautiful royal barge used to ferry the royal family from yacht to land it was last used in Queens Jubilee flotilla on the Thames 2012. The tour ends in a huge gift shop back in the main building full of royal yacht and royal linked merchandise and souvenirs.
For 44 years the royal yacht britannia ferried the queen around the world now it's a fascinating tour to insite into royal life in history highly recommended.