26 May 2022

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New royal yacht at last?
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New royal yacht at last?

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Now that Brexit has passed, it is a good time to start to promote Britain

It is amazing to think that the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned as long ago as 1997 and that following a decision even earlier in 1994.

And yet it almost seems like yesterday that the royal yacht was touring the world. But the decision was taken to decommission her because at a cost of £50 million to refit her, it was considered that this would be a bad decision at a time of financial austerity in a recession to enable the royal family to have a new ship to sail about in.

Britannia now sits in Edinburgh where she is visited by thousands of visitors every year.

But things move on and we are now firmly into the twenty first century and a lot of water has passed under the bridge in those three decades. The idea of a replacement ship now is a somewhat different one to the original plan for Britannia. The new vessel, expected to be named HMS Prince Philip will be used for much more than just royal visits; the idea will be to promote British interests around the world as a venue to conduct important trade negotiations and host summits and diplomatic talks.

In all likelihood, use by the royals in the future will actually be distinctly limited. There was a time when the only practical way of getting around the world was by boat, especially with your entourage, and a long time it would take too. Of course all that has been superseded now by the use of large aircraft and the fact that “time is precious” so royal visits will probably be facilitated by flights across the world and short sojourns on the new ship.

Cool! This is presumably all a part of Boris Johnson’s plan to promote the UK in world eyes and at the same time no doubt confirm the UK’s view that Britain still rules the waves! All of this comes just at the time when the new Royal Navy Fleet Flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has just left Portsmouth on her first deployment. This formidable £3 billion aircraft carrier is on her way to Scotland for exercises and then will be off to Asia via the Mediterranean, the Middle East and then to India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

This ship too has a formidable “entourage”. It has a complement of eight RAF and ten US Marine Corps F35B stealth fighter jets on board and will be accompanied on its Asia trip by six Royal Navy ships, a submarine, fourteen naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.

It is clear that the British government does not want the world to forget that the British are very much a sea-faring nation. In fact so special is this new ship that already two Russian spy ships have been spotted near by. You can read more about that in this article from the Express:

Do they know something we don’t?

The big question is do the British people think that these various displays of pomp and circumstance are appropriate given the huge cost? Many would argue that the money could be spent better in other ways whilst there are those who take the view that a stable British navy can play a significant part in the maintenance of world peace. But one thing surely is certain, whichever side of that particular argument you fall on, it is nothing less than impressive that a small nation like the UK is capable of putting such a show together – all on its own.

Adrian Leopard 02-05-21

Photo Joe Darams

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