The Royal Yacht Britannia was in the service of the Royal Family for over forty years between 1954 and 1997, sailing more than one million nautical miles. Although not an ardent royalist, I’d expected to enjoy seeing it, but nothing had prepared me for just how much. Without a doubt, this was the highlight of the Edinburgh trip for me. The yacht was larger than I’d imagined and over its five decks it reflects the family’s time spent on it as a ‘get-away’from-it-all’ place of relaxation.
From the humble quarters of the staff to the more ‘queenly’, though surprisingly uderstated private rooms, from the dining room where heads of state were entertained to the on-board Rolls Royce (yes, really), there is so much to see. Almost everything is an original item from the days spent onboard by the Royal Family.
The Queen and Prince Philip’s bedrooms
All the beds, with just one exception, on the RYB are single size. When Prince Charles and Diana honeymooned aboard for a two week Mediterranean cruise, the Prince ordered a double to be brought aboard. Whilst not lavish, the yacht’s crew members would have no doubt looked on enviously at the comfort that these rooms offered for their own quarters were cramped and spartan to say the least. Six bunks in a windowless cabin the size of my bathroom!
The family sitting room was my favourite room. Apparently the Queen asked for an open fire but it was considered not to be safe so she had to put up with an electric one.
Less formal is the sun room overlooking the deck where the family would play deck games.
Though there are smaller dining rooms, below is the one where the Queen entertained her VIPs. It is possible to book the RYB for a private event and there are numerous packages on offer but should I be surprised that no prices are quoted? I had been thinking about a tepee in the garden of a nearby pub for my 65th birthday in a few years time but maybe I’ll reconsider! Can’t cost more than a few thousand (tens of perhaps) can it?!
Most surprising is the aforementioned Rolls Royce ( the reflection is because it is behind glass). I suppose HRH couldn’t be expected to use the local buses!
Our last stop was for coffee and scones in the welcoming Royal Deck Tea Room. Don’t you just love the cappuccino!