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HMY Britannia, Leith, Scotland

Since the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in 1660, the United Kingdom has had 83 Royal Yachts (25 belonged to Charles II himself).  The last was the HMY Britannia belonging to Queen Elizabeth II.  Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, the Queen could no longer sail around in such luxury and in 1997 it was decommissioned.

HMY Britannia, the Royal Yacht. This 126 metre long super cruiser is the Grey Poupon of yachts. I took this picture from the Wikipedia Commons.

However, the Royal Family’s loss is now the public’s gain.  Britannia is now docked permanently at the port of Leith, just north of Edinburgh.  A five-star visitor attraction has also been set up, and Royal fans and tourists alike can now tour the ship and enjoy a smidgen of “the good life”.

My favourite room on the ship: the Queen’s Study. Don’t be fooled by all the pomp and circumstance, for Queen Elizabeth II was a hard working woman. Even while on vacation, anywhere in the world, she would have her Royal Mail sent to her at the next port, and she would sign documents and answer letters here at this desk. She was tied to her job even before the invention of e-mail, the pager and the mobile phone.

Interestingly, I found out later that the ship was actually designed to be converted to a hospital ship during times of war (if needed), and that there were plans in place to have it be the Queen’s floating nuclear bunker in the event of a nuclear attack.  My favourite part of the ship was hanging out on the deck where Princess Diana reportedly spent a good deal of time conversing with the ship’s crew.  Since the crew was not allowed to speak to the Royal Family, this was yet another illustration of how Diana could truly relate to the “common folk,” and why she probably never fit in that well with the Royal Family.

Each member of the crew had to be spotless. This required changing uniforms up to six times a day. The captain had to change uniforms upwards of twelve time a day. That requires a special laundry room like this one.

Unless you have your own Royal Yacht, I suggest you take the opportunity to tour HMY Britannia and live in (or at least look at) luxury for a few hours whenever you find yourself in Edinburgh Scotland.

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7 comments on “HMY Britannia, Leith, Scotland

  1. J. G. Burdette
    August 28, 2012

    Wow, can’t imagine changing twelve times a day. I pity the poor man that had to do it. Thanks for this post, enjoyed it!

    • bucketdave
      August 29, 2012

      That’s what I was thinking too when I saw it J.G. I did the math and thought, “that’s once every hour or two! Who’s steering the ship?”

  2. philvb
    August 31, 2012

    Would love to tour that ship, looks handsome!

    • bucketdave
      September 3, 2012

      It’s really incredible Phil. It was an amazing glimpse into the lifestyle of the “rich and famous.”

  3. Marianne
    September 10, 2012

    Ah yes, I remember visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia a few years ago when we were staying in Edinburgh for a few days.

    It was very traditional and rather old fashioned – but still nice to wander around! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • bucketdave
      September 10, 2012

      Ha ha, yes, I guess you could say it was old fashioned. I think it was in service since the 1950s. As for the reminder, that was definitely my pleasure! I’m glad you liked it 😀

      • Marianne
        September 11, 2012

        Yes, I think you´re right – I think it was built soon after the Queen came to the throne – so I guess they had their money´s worth out of it! 🙂

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