Prince Charles’ fury with decision to scrap Royal Yacht Britannia
Prince Charles’ fury with Labour government’s decision to scrap his beloved Royal Yacht Britannia
- Prince Charles keenly misses royal yacht which was decommissioned in 1997
- The yacht was an important part of the process of representing Britain abroad
- He keenly approves of Boris Johnson’s call to commission a new royal yacht
Prince Charles still keenly misses the royal yacht, which was decommissioned in 1997.
In April this year, just after he’d paid an official visit to the South Pacific island of Vanuatu, he told me: ‘Imagine what it would be like coming into [Vanuatu] harbour aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, with all the small craft to greet us.’
The yacht, he feels, was an important part of the process of trying to represent Britain abroad — ‘entirely motivated by a desperate desire to put the “Great” back into Great Britain’, as he puts it.
It had unusual pulling power, we agreed. Inviting powerful business leaders to a swanky restaurant might result in a handful of takers — but invite them to the yacht and every one of them would show up.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana leave Gibraltar on the Royal Yacht Britannia for their honeymoon cruise in 1981. Prince Charles still keenly misses the royal yacht, which was decommissioned in 1997
He pointed out that on his 2018 Australian tour he’d convened a round-table meeting with big-business CEOs to examine the challenges faced by the world’s ocean reefs.
Yet senior representatives from Australia’s mining industry had failed to show up, and other industry leaders had sent more junior executives to represent them.
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Charles was clearly a little peeved, reflecting that this wouldn’t have happened if the meeting had been aboard Britannia.
Whenever she was due in port, the British Ambassador — who advised on invitations — was suddenly the most popular person in the entire country, he said.
Whenever she was due in port, the British Ambassador — who advised on invitations — was suddenly the most popular person in the entire country, he said
He clearly approves of Boris Johnson’s call to commission a new royal yacht, backed by private investment
‘Sadly, the Treasury did not seem to think [the yacht was important],’ he reflected. ‘And, what’s more, the Royal Navy didn’t want to pay to staff it, either.’
He clearly approves of Boris Johnson’s call to commission a new royal yacht, backed by private investment.
As a floating embassy-cum-trade platform, it would be a statement of serious intent, he believes.
‘Blair and Brown . . . and the Treasury simply wouldn’t have it, so there we are,’ he added, with an air of resignation.
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