Plans for an £80 million new royal flagship to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee have received strong political support, following the decision to pay for the boat out of privately raised funds.
Popular on LondonNet
When the idea was first trailed by Tory Minister for Education Michael Gove, the cost of the royal vessel was to come out of the public purse. Consequently, it was slapped down by rival politicians as a case of the “have and have yachts”.
But now, Britain’s three main political parties have all backed the campaign to build a modern-day replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia – decommissioned in 1997 – to mark the Diamond Jubilee in June this year.
Funds to build the yacht will be raised from corporate sponsors and individual donations, and an appeal has been launched to find them.
Money is also being raised from across the Commonwealth of Nations, with Canada already pledging $10 million to the project.
Rear Admiral David Bawtree, who is leading the project, said: “The jubilee lends itself to a national appeal. Obviously, we will use established means of fundraising and if someone wants to put their name on a particular cabin, then that’s wonderful.
“There will be designated trade and exhibition days when companies can hire rooms and space for specific events – following proper protocols, as with any government trade initiative.
“But, needless to say, it will be entirely different when the ship is on royal duty.
“There will be no question of sponsorship on those occasions.”
The proposed 157-metre sailing ship is to double as both a training vessel for young people and secure accommodation for members of the royal family when they are abroad.