, 2022-06-01 02:00:00,
From humanitarian missions to hosting royal honeymoons, the HMS Britannia has a fascinating history serving the British Royal Family for over four decades. When she was decommissioned in 1997, Queen Elizabeth II shed a tear in a rare display of emotion. The occasion marked the end of long succession for royal yachts dating back to the reign of Charles II. As the country prepares to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, we remember her beloved Britannia.
1. Britannia was launched in 1953
Britannia was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II following the death of her father and was launched from John Brown & Co. Ltd – the shipyard that built the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary cruise liners – in 1953. However, there was to be no traditional Champagne-smashing against her bow. In a post-war Britain, Champagne was considered too extravagant so instead, a bottle of Empire wine was selected to do the honours at her official launch ceremony.
2. There are three masts on board
Unlike her predecessors, Britannia possessed a more modern profile with a clipper bow and cruiser stern. The ship was designed with three masts: a 41-metre foremast, a 42-metre mainmast, and 36 metre mizzenmast. The last six metres of the main mast were placed on a hinge so she could pass under bridges.
3. Britannia logged over one million nautical miles
Between family vacations and official tours, Britannia logged over one million nautical miles, which roughly equates to one trip around the world for each of her 44 years in service.
4. The wheel was inherited
The ship’s wheel was taken from King Edward VII’s racing yacht, a 37-metre gaff-rigged cutter also named Britannia. She was a near sistership to Valkyrie II which challenged for the 1893 America’s Cup, and won over 230 races in her…
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