Find anything you save across the site in your account

The Royal Yacht Britannia : A History of Queen Elizabeth II’s Favorite Palace

By Lisa Liebman

The Royal Yacht Britannia in Hong Kong during its last voyage in July of 1997.

The christening of The Royal Yacht Britannia serves as a cheeky season opener to  The Crown . Black-and-white Pathé News–style footage shows a soon-to-be-crowned Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) cheered on by shipbuilders as she launches her new 412-foot yacht. “I hope that this brand-new vessel, like your brand-new queen, will prove to be dependable and constant. Capable of weathering any storm,” she says about the royal replacement for the  Victoria and Albert III . By the series’ season finale, set 44 years later, both the sovereign and the floating palace she christened  Britannia will have hit rough seas—the cost of repairing the creaky old vessel and the modern role of the monarchy both in question. Ultimately, the yacht that undertook 968 official voyages all over the world, hosting dignitaries—including 13 US presidents—at receptions and banquets, was dry-docked near Edinburgh, Scotland, where it continues to be a popular tourist attraction. Here are some of the most buoyant facts about the palace the Queen famously said was “the one place where I can truly relax.”

The sun room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1981.

The sun room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1981. 

In a nod to the country’s post-war austerity, Elizabeth scaled back the design of the ship that her father, King George VI, had commissioned just two days before he died. Rather than following the opulent plan laid out by the Scottish firm McInnes Gardner & Partners, she opted for the understated elegance envisioned by architect Sir Hugh Casson, who described “running a lawn mower over the Louis XVIl adornments” in favor of simple white walls, lilac-gray carpeting, and “a bit of gilding in grand places.” Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Phillip, were said to have personally chosen the furniture—much of it, including linens, recycled from the  Victoria and Albert —fabrics (florals, chintz, toile), and paintings. 

Prince Charles and Princess Diana on board the Royal Yacht Britannia as they prepare to depart on their honeymoon cruise...

Prince Charles and Princess Diana on board the Royal Yacht Britannia as they prepare to depart on their honeymoon cruise in 1981.

As a former Royal Navy Commander, Prince Phillip also saw to the ship’s technical details, and his Bluebottle racing yacht inspired the Britannia ’s navy-hued hull. Outer decks were made of two-inch Burmese teak. The steering wheel was reclaimed from Britannia ’s namesake, King Edward VII’s 1893 racing yacht; a wheelhouse wheel came from George V’s racing yacht; and a gold-and-white binnacle (housing the ship’s compass) was salvaged from King George III’s yacht and installed on the Veranda deck. Fittings from former royal ships were also reused. 

The drawing room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1978.

The drawing room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1978. 

The 4,000-ton yacht had a crew of 220 Royal Yachtsmen who lived on board, about 45 household staff, and occasionally a 26-member Royal Marine embarked to entertain dignitaries. The monarch often welcomed guests from the ship’s grand staircase. (Stairs leading from the Veranda to the Royal deck were sometimes transformed into a water slide for the kids.)  Britannia ’s apartments were designed like those of a first-class ocean liner. A 56-seat state dining room, where many of the gifts given to the monarch (a wood-carved shark from Pitcairn Island, a bejeweled gold statue from Bangkok) were displayed, was the scene of formal dinners with guests such as Sir Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Mandela, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. More intimate gatherings were held in the Queen’s official reception room, a smaller state drawing room with floral upholstered pieces, simple wood tables, an electric fireplace, and a Welmar baby grand piano bolted to the deck—played by everyone from Sir Noël Coward to Princesses Diana and Margaret. The teak-clad sun lounge, with rattan furniture and a toile loveseat, was Elizabeth’s favorite place—where she had her breakfast, afternoon tea, and also enjoyed her favorite Dubonnet and gin cocktails.

The Queens sitting room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1981.

The Queen’s sitting room on the Royal Yacht Britannia as photographed in 1981. 

Tour a Serene Beverly Hills Home Designed to Maximize the California Sunlight

By Nick Mafi

Inside Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton’s Homes, From California to Oklahoma

By Joyce Chen

Inside Diplo’s Private Jungle Paradise

By Mayer Rus

A ship elevator reserved for royal use moved between the Upper and Shelter Decks. The latter is where four Royal Apartments (bedrooms), including the Queen and Prince Phillip’s connecting compartments, were located. Hers featured florals, his had red accents. Elizabeth’s understated Upper Deck private sitting room, done in pastels and neutrals, served as the office where she conducted state business. Phillip used his sitting room, with its wood desk facing a model of his first command, the HMS Magpie , as his study. Below deck there was a wine cellar, as well as a cargo hold that could carry a barge, speed- and sailboats, plus a royal Range Rover and Rolls-Royce. The yacht could also be converted into a hospital (though it never was).

The Queen shed a tear at the decommissioning ceremony for thye Royal Yacht Britannia.

The Queen shed a tear at the decommissioning ceremony for thye Royal Yacht Britannia.

As depicted in  The Crown, Britannia ’s final official trip was to Hong Kong in 1997, where Prince Charles attended the handover of the territory to China. By then, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s administration was complaining that the £11 million a year needed to keep the boat afloat couldn’t be justified. With Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, and all of their children in attendance,  Britannia was decommissioned at a ceremony in Portsmouth, England on December 11, 1997, with the monarch seen wiping away a tear. The yacht, now docked in Leith, Scotland, is open to the public as a museum and events space. (Prior to their wedding, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips’s daughter Zara Phillips and her fiancé Mike Tindall had a celebration there.) Visitors will note that every clock on board reads 3:01, the exact time the Queen disembarked her beloved  Britannia for the final time on that December day.

Windsor Castle: Inside the 1,000-Year-Old History of the Royal Residence

By Claudia Williams

Princess Diana’s Yacht Saga: Revisiting the Boats She Vacationed on With Dodi Fayed

By Katherine McLaughlin

Russell Wilson and Ciara Will Offload Their Seattle Estate for a Grand Total of $31 Million

By Michelle Duncan

This Hudson River Escape Brings Wood Paneling Into the 21st Century

By Linne Halpern

Photo tour: Inside the Royal Yacht Britannia

Decommissioned in 1997, the Royal Yacht Britannia is now docked in Edinburgh, Scotland.

royal yacht britannia barge

Ramblings of a Salty Seadog

And a rather tipsy duchess.

Duchess Logo.png

A Life at Sea Beckons

royal yacht britannia barge

Dickie Bull

royal yacht britannia barge

SALTY SEADOG YOUTUBE MOMENTS 2023

SALTY SEADOG YOUTUBE MOMENTS 2023

Christmas at Sea Good, Bad and the Ugly

royal yacht britannia barge

The Postman Fails to Knock

The Postman Fails to Knock

  • Oct 23, 2021

The Royal Yacht - Britannia

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

royal yacht britannia barge

One of the highlights of my recent cruise was a visit to Edinburgh. The ship actually docks in Leith, but first of all, you have to access the dock via a lock. Leith is Scotland’s largest enclosed deepwater port with the capability of handling vessels up to 50,000 deadweight tonnes. The maximum ship size normally accepted is 210m x 30m, big enough for the smaller cruise ships that would normally tour the British Isles and Scottish coastline. Being a simple Purser, l do not have the foggiest idea about deadweight, but I am sure I will be enlightened by fellow Salty Seadogs.

royal yacht britannia barge

We arrived very early and by the time I looked out around seven in the morning we were already through the lock and tied up alongside. The view from our balcony was great as we were overlooking The Royal Yacht Britannia. For years l have wanted to visit Britannia. A friend was a pastry chef on her in the ’70s and had one or two tales to tell.

With an overnight stay in Scotland’s Capital City, the first day was taken up by exploring the city. One of the amazing finds that I had not expected was the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which is one of the finest botanic gardens in the world as well as being home to a world-renowned centre of botanical science. Covering approx. 72 acres it is an absolute delight to explore and is the home to the world's largest collection of Chinese plants outside China itself. In fact, plants that have become extinct in China have been taken from Edinburgh to be re-established back in their homeland. With only a couple of hours to explore it is defiantly on the list for a return visit.

The Royal Yacht Britannia

Sailing at 2.00 pm, on day two in Edinburgh, leaving just enough time to visit Britannia. A very short walk from our ship and we were embarking on the Royal Yacht. Britannia served the Queen and Royal family for just over forty years. Stepping onboard you immediately realise why the Queen loved her so much and found her very relaxing. She has a very country house feel to her and by today's standards she is a little spartan in places, but l guess when she was built in 1954 she was the height of luxury with state of the art equipment. By the same token, I cannot really see that Princess Diana would have relished her honeymoon on her, for the first time a double bed was installed onboard in the honeymoon suite.

Britannia is so distinctive that no name is visible on her hull. The royal coat of arms flying on the bow side and the royal cipher on her stern were deemed sufficient.

Seaman onboard did not wear their caps at sea, which means the seamen are technically out of uniform and not required to salute, enabling the Queen to walk around the vessel without formal recognition. They were also trained to execute orders on the upper deck, where the Queen's private quarters are situated, without spoken words or commands.

royal yacht britannia barge

Meanwhile, below decks, accommodation was a little like crew accommodation on the ocean-going liners of the era, six, eight berth and even more to a cabin with ablusions and showers in a communal area at the end of the alleyway. With up to 240 crew onboard this led to little privacy below decks.

royal yacht britannia barge

As well as being designed as a Royal Yacht, Britannia was also designed to act as a hospital ship in the event of war. As you walk around the ship it becomes obvious by the facilities in the hospital and also the oversized ship's laundry that she has a dual purpose. She also has a garage onboard where one of the Queen’s Roll Royce was carried to be used ashore on official visits.

Britannia carried the Royal family on 968 official voyages. Britannia is said to have traveled over one million miles around the world. The Royal Barge was traditionally used to transport the Royal family to and from The Royal Yacht until she was decommissioned in 1997.

If you have a story to share please email me

Read Move from Salty Seadog

Cadets, Cocktails and an Officer is Logged

The Ship's Quack and a Dose of Clap

Recent Posts

Excellent report on Edinburgh and the Britannia, however was beginning to think you need a proofreader when your first sentence you refer to the Port of Leigh, but soon fathomed out it was 'finger trouble' when you corrected to Leith, thereon.

Dont knock yourself being a 'Simple' Purser, certainly nothing simple about you, and this amazing website, is proof to your very well educated mind.

Happy you highlighted the Botanical Gardens as we had planned visit too, but when we were there, it was traditional Scottish summer in July 2016, and encountered three days of torrential rain, cool temperatures and high winds, so our tour of the capital city was somewhat curtailed. We did visit Britannia which was well worth…

Thank you Jamie. I cocked up the spelling of Leith a few times and although l went back and correctd some of them, i missed a couple.

Very interesting fact about RY Gothic. I loved my visit around Britannia.

          Please subscribe to  Salty Seadog

Thanks for joining us

Undiscovered Scotland

The royal yacht britannia.

After an active lifetime in which she sailed over a million miles, the Royal Yacht Britannia is one of the world's best known ships. Britannia was launched at John Brown's Shipyard in Clydebank on 16 April 1953 and she was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base on 11 December 1997 in the presence of the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and fourteen senior members of The Royal Family. During the intervening 44 years she carried the Queen and the Royal Family on 968 official voyages in almost every part of the globe.

Britannia was the 83rd, and last, Royal Yacht in a tradition that dated back to 1660 and the gift of the Mary by the people of Amsterdam to King Charles II. Thankfully another old tradition, of sinking Royal Yachts at sea after they had been decommissioned, was not followed, and instead the Government invited proposals from UK cities interested in providing Britannia with a suitable home.

Edinburgh was the successful city, and Britannia is now owned by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a charitable organisation whose sole remit is the maintenance of Britannia in keeping with her former role. Britannia is now permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal, in Edinburgh's historic port of Leith, and visitors can now see for themselves all aspects of life on this remarkable ship.

A visit to Britannia is a superb experience. Her conversion from a mixture of palace, embassy, holiday home and naval vessel into a tourist attraction has been carried out with great sensitivity and integrity. The visitor reception area is on the second floor of the Ocean Terminal shopping centre, which is also home to an interpretive exhibition and, as you exit, the shop.

From the shopping centre you pass over a bridge giving access to a glass and steel tower that is the key to Britannia's excellent accessibility. This contains both stairs and a lift, and from this tower further bridges give access to the ship at four different levels. The result is that although you might imagine a half-century-old ship to be a very difficult environment in which to arrange level access, in practice all parts are fully accessible.

Maybe it's because it is called a "yacht", but your first surprise on seeing Britannia is its sheer size. To put it in context, it is the same overall length, 125m, as the largest vehicle ferries operating purely within Scottish waters, the Shetland ferries Hrossey and Hjaltland. Each of these has 100 passenger cabins and can carry 600 passengers plus cars and freight, and the crew: so the fact that Britannia had a crew of up to 240 suddenly appears less astonishing.

But having got a grip on the relative size of the Britannia you rapidly run out of comparisons based on other ships. Instead, you quite quickly start to think of Britannia as something much more like a floating stately home, though with some interesting differences.

Like a stately home, Britannia has an "upstairs" and a "downstairs": a clear distinction between the accommodation meant for the the passengers on the one hand, and that intended for the people employed to make it all happen on the other. On Britannia, however, there was also a clear division between the front half of the upper ship and its rear half. The latter provided the accommodation, state rooms and facilities for the royal passengers and their staff, while in the former you find the bridge and the officers' accommodation.

A tour of Britannia allows you to experience and explore these many different facets of this remarkable ship. You start on the upper level at the front in the bridge, complete with the Admiral's chair, on which no one else was allowed to sit ( Britannia was almost always captained by an Admiral). Beneath this you enter the officers' domain. Here you find what in many ways seems the most comfortable and well appointed cabin on the ship, the Admiral's day cabin, with his sleeping quarters nearby. Other officers did a little less well, and you can see some of their cabins plus the wardroom and its anteroom in which they spent much of their off-duty time.

Accommodation for the royal passengers was on the upper three decks of the ship behind the area occupied by the officers. Uppermost was a suite of rooms extending from the sun lounge at the rear, to the - surprisingly modest - bedrooms for the Royal Family. From here a grand staircase led down to the deck comprising mainly the State Dining Room and the State Drawing Room, both rooms that were designed to impress. The Drawing Room is the more homely and has an electric fire for those colder days: the Queen was eventually persuaded that a coal fire would have presented a hazard at sea!

As you tour successively lower decks on Britannia you become aware of the very stratified nature of naval life, with different groups having different living and recreational areas. And in the bowels of the ship you come face to face with the triple stacked bunks on which many of the crew lived. You also have the opportunity to visit the ship's sick bay, the huge laundry, and the engine room complete with engines kept so clean that when they were in use a doormat was provided on which visitors were asked to wipe their feet when entering.

royal yacht britannia barge

  • Subscribe Now
  • Digital Editions

hero profile

Royal Yacht Britannia’s tender to feature at Thames Pageant

Royal Barge takes to the water for the first time in 15 years

Originally used as the tender to the Royal Yacht Britannia , the Royal Barge has been launched for the first time in 15 years, to play a major role in the Thames Diamond Jubilee on 3 June.

She will be tasked with the job of transporting Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to The Spirit of Chartwell. Peter Young, the last coxswain of the barge will helm her during the Pageant.

The Jubilee Pageant will see 1000 boats convoy down the Thames to mark the Queen’s 60 years on the Throne. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will lead the flotilla aboard The Spirit of Chartwell , which is currently undergoing cosmetic upgrades, including a two tonne bow sculpture

Cormate Chase 32 tour: Fast, Stylish and practical weekender

Axopar 29 sea trial: sun top vs cross cabin – which is best, sunseeker predator 55 first look: hotly anticipated new sunseeker.

The Queen of travel

Queen Elizabeth II 1926 - 2022

Queen Elizabeth II leaves Fiji during a royal tour in February 1977. Serge Lemoine/Getty Images

The Queen of travel Journeys of a lifetime

By Francesca Street and Mark Oliver, CNN September 13, 2022

S he was traveling the moment she ascended to the throne, and for much of the next seven decades, Queen Elizabeth II criss-crossed the world. Newly married and still just a princess, Britain’s future monarch was in Kenya with husband Prince Philip in February 1952 when she learned of her father’s death and her new regal status.

During her reign she would visit more than 120 countries, witnessing first-hand the revolutions in global travel that shrank the world as her own influence over it diminished.

The Queen lived through the advent of the Jet Age, flew supersonic on the Concorde, saw regimes change, countries form and dissolve, the end of the British Empire and the rise of globalization.

Here are some of the most memorable travel moments from her 70 years as monarch.

November 24-25, 1953

Less than six months after she was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, Queen Elizabeth set off on her travels again. Her debut official state trip was an epic six-month tour of the Commonwealth -- the alliance of nations which were once British colonies. Traveling by air, sea and land she visited several countries, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. First stop was the North Atlantic island of Bermuda, a British territory she would visit a further four times during her reign. The trip would go on to include stops in Jamaica, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Cocos Islands, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Aden (now part of Yemen), Uganda, Malta and Gibraltar.

December 19-20, 1953

At Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in June 1953, Queen Salote Tupou III of the Polynesian kingdom of Tonga won over the British public when she sat, rain-soaked, in her open carriage. They also took an interest when Elizabeth returned the visit later in the year. The two queens enjoyed an open-air feast, watched Tongan dancers and admired a tortoise that legend said was presented by explorer Captain James Cook to the King of Tonga in 1777.

December 23, 1953 – January 30, 1954

New zealand.

The Queen voyaged to New Zealand during the Antipodean summer of 1953-4. Over the course of the trip, it’s estimated that three out of every four New Zealanders got a glimpse of her. In preparation for the Queen’s visit, some New Zealand sheep were dyed in the UK flag colors of red, white and blue. The Queen returned to the country nine times over the years, including in 2002 as she marked half a century on the throne.

April 10-21, 1954

Ceylon (now sri lanka).

A visit to Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, coincided with the Queen’s 28th birthday. She visited the city of Colombo where crowds joined together to sing her “Happy Birthday.” She also visited the central city of Kandy, where she watched a procession featuring a reported 140 elephants and met local chiefs.

April 8-11, 1957

The Queen had visited France as a young princess, but her first state visit as monarch was a glamorous affair. She attended the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, visited the Palace of Versailles, and dined at the Louvre with then-President Rene Coty. The Queen also laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe and visited the Scottish Church of Paris.

October 17-20, 1957

United states.

Having met President Harry S. Truman in Washington in 1951 during a visit before ascending to the throne, Elizabeth was no stranger to America when she arrived on her first trip as Queen. Her 1957 visit marked the 350th anniversary of the first permanent British settlement on the continent, in Jamestown. The monarch attended a college football game at the former Byrd Stadium in Maryland where she watched the home team lose to North Carolina. She met with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the White House and later traveled to New York, where she and Prince Philip drove through the streets and admired panoramic views of the city from the Empire State Building.

February 1-16, 1961

The Queen and Prince Philip visited Pakistan in 1961, arriving in the port city of Karachi after completing a visit to India as part of a wider tour of South Asia. She drove through the streets of Karachi in an open-top car, before going on to visit Lahore, where a torchlight military tattoo took place in her honor and Prince Philip played in a game of polo.

February 26 to March 1, 1961

In Nepal, the Queen inspected troops in Kathmandu and met Gurkha ex-servicemen in Pokhara. The monarch rode on an elephant and visited the Hanuman Dhoka Palace complex in Kathmandu. She took part in the rather grim spectacle of a tiger hunt although didn’t shoot any animals herself. She instead recorded the experience on cine camera – a recording device that she often carried with her on her earlier foreign trips.

March 2-6, 1961

The Queen visited pre-revolution Iran at the end of her 1961 South Asian tour. Hosted by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, she toured ancient monuments including the ruins of Persepolis, once a capital of the Achaemenid Empire, later declared a World Heritage Site. She also saw Sheikh Lotfollah mosque in Esfahan and admired collections of the Archaeological Museum of Iran.

May 5, 1961

Vatican city.

In 1961, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to visit the Vatican. Dressed all in black, the Queen had an audience with Pope John XXIII, also attended by Prince Philip. She returned to the Vatican three more times during her reign, meeting Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis.

November 9-20, 1961

Bombing incidents in the capital Accra left officials worried about the safety of the Queen’s visit to Ghana but, after deliberation, UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan confirmed it would go ahead. During the trip, the Queen famously shared a dance with Ghana’s then-president, Kwame Nkrumah. At the height of Cold War uncertainty, this seemingly innocuous moment was seen as significant in ensuring Ghana remained affiliated to Britain and not the USSR.

May 18-28, 1965

West germany (now germany).

The Queen’s visit to West Germany and West Berlin was viewed as a symbolic gesture of goodwill in the post-World War II landscape. It was the first royal trip to German territory for more than 50 years and photographs such as one of the Queen and Prince Philip in a car driving past the Brandenburg Gate had symbolic resonance.

November 5-11, 1968

Queen Elizabeth became the first reigning British monarch to visit South America when she landed in Brazil in late 1968. During the trip, the Queen wore a striking jewelry set made of Brazilian aquamarine, gifted to her in 1953 by the Brazilian president and added to over time. The monarch also attended a football match between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and presented the winner’s trophy to Brazilian footballer Pele.

October 18-25, 1971

On the first of two trips to Turkey -- the second took place in 2008 -- the Queen visited the Gallipoli peninsula to remember the Allied soldiers who died there during World War I. The monarch also explored the ruins of the ancient Greek empire city of Ephesus. A media highlight of the visit came when she was photographed leaping ashore from a barge, after disembarking from her ship, the Royal Yacht Britannia.

February 10-15, 1972

Accompanied by Prince Philip and daughter Princess Anne, the Queen was greeted on arrival in Bangkok by a carpet of flower petals. The monarch was given a golden key to the city of Bangkok, attended a state banquet and visited Bang Pa-In Palace, the Thai royal family’s summer residence, north of the capital.

October 17-21, 1972

The Queen’s visit to Yugoslavia was her first trip to a communist country. The Central European country no longer exists -- the areas that the Queen visited are now part of Croatia. During her trip, she met Yugoslav political leader Josip Broz Tito and traveled on his famous Blue Train.

February 15-16, 1974

New hebrides (now vanuatu).

The Queen and Prince Philip visited the Pacific island archipelago of Vanuatu, then known as the New Hebrides, in 1974. It’s said the royal couple’s visit to Vanuatu may have strengthened the belief among some locals on Tanna island that the Duke of Edinburgh was a divine being.

February 24-March 1, 1975

On her first of two visits to Mexico, the Queen toured ancient sites -- including the pyramids of Uxmal, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monarch also received local crafts, met school children and attended a banquet. While she was driven through Mexico City, the Queen was showered in confetti.

February 17-20, 1979

Saudi arabia.

In 1979, the Queen became the first female head of state to visit Saudi Arabia, on a tour of Gulf States. At Riyadh Airport, she was met by King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, pictured. The outfits she wore on the trip were carefully designed in accordance with Saudi Arabia’s conservative dress code for women. The Queen arrived on a British Airways supersonic Concorde aircraft and during the visit attended camel races and toured the National Museum.

October 26-27, 1982

The Queen visited Tuvalu, a group of nine islands in the South Pacific, in 1982. Upon arrival, the Queen and Prince Philip were carried in a flower-filled canoe from sea to shore. Thirty years later, in 2012, Prince William visited Tuvalu with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, who drank a coconut from a tree planted by Queen Elizabeth on this 1982 visit.

February 26 – March 6, 1983

On a star-studded trip to the United States, the Queen toured the 20th Century-Fox studios in Hollywood with then-First Lady Nancy Reagan and met Frank Sinatra, who she’d previously met in the 1950s, at a party given in her honor. The Queen and Prince Philip also visited Yosemite National Park in California, pictured.

November 10-14, 1983

The Queen returned to Kenya in 1983 for a state visit. When she was there 31 years previously, she'd learned that her father had passed away and she had become Britain’s reigning monarch. In 1983, the Queen and Prince Philip revisited the Treetops hotel, pictured, where they were staying at the time she was told the news.

October 12-18, 1986

The Queen’s trip to China was the first -- and, so far, only -- state visit by a British monarch to China. With Prince Philip by her side, the Queen visited the Great Wall of China, pictured, as well as the Forbidden City in Beijing.

October 17-20, 1994

In 1994, in another royal first, the Queen visited Russia. Over the three-day trip, the Queen met Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, pictured here with the monarch outside St Basil’s Cathedral, as well as Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The Queen also attended the Bolshoi Ballet. In her traditional Christmas Day speech broadcast later that year, the Queen reflected on how times had changed, noting she “never thought it would be possible in [her] lifetime” to attend a service in Moscow’s famous cathedral.

March 19-25, 1995

South africa.

In 1994, after apartheid ended, South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth as a republic. The following year, the Queen traveled there, in a visit designed to renew ties between the two countries. The Queen met with President Nelson Mandela, pictured, and presented him with the Order of Merit.

October 12-18, 1997

The Queen visited India for the third time in 1997, her first public engagement since Princess Diana’s funeral just weeks before. The trip marked 50 years since India’s independence from Britain. Most memorably, the monarch visited the site of the Amritsar massacre, also known as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, of April 13, 1919. She also expressed regret at a state banquet in New Delhi for the “distressing” episode in which British soldiers gunned down hundreds of unarmed civilians. The gesture was seen by some as inadequate. “The Queen is doing everything she can to make India like her. But so far it does not seem to be working,” wrote the UK’s Independent newspaper at the time.

October 4-15, 2002

The Queen visited Canada many times. In 2002, her trip to the North American country coincided with her Golden Jubilee festivities, celebrating 50 years of her reign. During the trip, the Queen attended an ice hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks, and dropped the ceremonial puck.

March 11-16, 2006

The Queen visited Australia 16 times as Head of State. In 2006, she traveled to Melbourne to open the Commonwealth Games. She was greeted by a welcoming party in Canberra, visited the Sydney Opera House, attended a Commonwealth Day service in St. Andrew’s Cathedral and toured Admiralty House, the Sydney residence of the Governor-General of Australia.

May 17-20, 2011

The Queen’s trip to Dublin was the first time a British monarch had set foot in the Irish Republic since its 1922 independence. At Dublin Castle the Queen delivered a well-received speech on the history of Anglo-Irish relations. In County Tipperary, she also toured the medieval Rock of Cashel, pictured, once a seat of power for Ireland’s ancient kings.

November 26-28, 2015

From 1949 to 1951, before she was Queen, Elizabeth and Prince Philip lived in Malta. In 2015, the monarch paid her last visit to the island, touring the Grand Harbour in a Maltese fishing boat and waving to members of the British Royal Navy.

United Kingdom

In the later years of her reign, the Queen cut back on foreign travel, passing on the mantle to the younger royals. In more recent years, royal tours have also been looked at with more skeptical eyes, as Britain reckons with its colonial past.

While she didn't travel abroad in the later years of her reign, the Queen continued to vacation in the UK. Most notably, the Queen’s ties with Scotland remained strong throughout her reign and her residence there, Balmoral Castle, was a favorite refuge. It was at Balmoral that the Queen died on September 8, 2022.

George Brown Logo

Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia supporting steel structure

We were asked to design, manufacture and install a supporting steel  structure to which stainless steel wires could be attached to accept a protective PVC canopy to protect the ‘Royal Barge’ which forms part of the Britannia Tour. 

The Royal Barge is in full working order and kept afloat in a special pond at the bottom of the gangway of the Former  Royal Yacht Britannia. The Barge  was transported to London in 2012 and led the pagent on the River Thames to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth. 

The fabrication work was completed in our Shore workshops and was hot dipped galvanised before installation. To prevent  any disruption to the daily tours of Britannia  (over 300,000 per year) , all installation work was completed before 10am each day.

We carry out an assortment of work for the FRY  Britannia and she remains one of the best attractions in the UK.

Privacy Overview

See Photos of Queen Elizabeth's 1994 State Visit to Russia

The Queen's trip to Russia, which followed Boris Yeltsin's trip to the UK, is depicted in season five of The Crown .

queen in moscow

Here, see all the photos of Queen Elizabeth's 1994 trip to Russia, as shown on The Crown :

queen elizabeth ii and russian president boris yeltsin at buckingham palace also pictured are the duke of edinburgh and mrs naina yeltsin

This is not from the State Visit to Russia, rather this is when Yeltsin visited the UK two years prior. Pictured are Naina Yeltsin, President Boris Yeltsin, Queen Elizabeth, and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace.

State Visit, 1994

boris yeltsin

Queen Elizabeth is pictured arriving in Moscow, wearing a glamorous fur coat.

queen elizabeth ii state visit to russia

A close-up of the Queen and Prince Philip upon their arrival in Russia.

queen elizabeth ii in moscow

Throughout the trip, she was accompanied by Boris Yeltsin, who served as president of Russia from 1991 to 1999.

queen yeltsin moscow

Queen Elizabeth was not the first British royal to visit Russia. In 1973, Prince Philip and Princess Anne attended a horse eventing competition in Kyiv, then part of the Soviet Union, and in 1994, Prince Charles visited Saint Petersburg.

queen elizabeth ii in moscow

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stayed in the Kremlin as guests of Yletsin.

visit of queen elisabeth ii to moscow, bolshoi theatre

Here, the Queen and Yetsin are pictured at the Bolshoi theatre.

queen elizabeth ii in moscow

Queen Elizabeth met Patriarch Alexius II and mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov; they are pictured here outside Saint Basil's Cathedral.

boris yeltsin

"For Russia, this visit is the utmost recognition that our country is on the road to democracy," Yeltsin told reporters of the Queen's visit.

boris yeltsin

As The Crown shows, the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family was a reason why the Queen had yet to visit Russia. Her grandfather, King George V, was Nicholas's first cousin.

queen elizabeth ii state visit to russia

"You and I have spent most of our lives believing that this evening could never happen. I hope that you are as delighted as I am to be proved wrong," Queen Elizabeth said to Yeltsin at a state banquet.

queen yeltsin moscow

The two toasted at the banquet.

queen in moscow

Queen Elizabeth toured Moscow during her four day trip, including visiting the famous Red Square.

anwar hussein collection

She also met Russian children.

queen elizabeth russia

There were more formal events during the trip, too; Queen Elizabeth and Yeltsin attended a ceremony at the Piskarevskoye cemetery, a WWII memorial in St. Petersburg.

queen yeltsin russia

During the trip, Prince Philip and the Queen hosted the Yeltsins on board the Royal Yacht Britannia for a banquet.

queen elizabeth ii state visit to russia

During her Christmas address two months later, Queen Elizabeth reflected, "I never thought it would be possible in my lifetime to join with the Patriarch of Moscow and his congregation in a service in that wonderful cathedral in the heart of the Moscow Kremlin."

queen elizabeth ii and prince philip visit moscow, russia on october 18, 1994

Queen Elizabeth would not return to Russia; Prince Philip returned once more, in 1995, as president of the World Wildlife Fund.

Headshot of Emily Burack

Emily Burack (she/her) is the Senior News Editor for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royals, and a range of other subjects. Before joining T&C, she was the deputy managing editor at Hey Alma , a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack on Twitter and Instagram .

preview for Society Section Curated

@media(min-width: 40.625rem){.css-1jdielu:before{margin:0.625rem 0.625rem 0;width:3.5rem;-webkit-filter:invert(17%) sepia(72%) saturate(710%) hue-rotate(181deg) brightness(97%) contrast(97%);filter:invert(17%) sepia(72%) saturate(710%) hue-rotate(181deg) brightness(97%) contrast(97%);height:1.5rem;content:'';display:inline-block;-webkit-transform:scale(-1, 1);-moz-transform:scale(-1, 1);-ms-transform:scale(-1, 1);transform:scale(-1, 1);background-repeat:no-repeat;}.loaded .css-1jdielu:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/townandcountrymag/static/images/diamond-header-design-element.80fb60e.svg);}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-1jdielu:before{margin:0 0.625rem 0.25rem;}} The Crown @media(min-width: 40.625rem){.css-128xfoy:before{margin:0.625rem 0.625rem 0;width:3.5rem;-webkit-filter:invert(17%) sepia(72%) saturate(710%) hue-rotate(181deg) brightness(97%) contrast(97%);filter:invert(17%) sepia(72%) saturate(710%) hue-rotate(181deg) brightness(97%) contrast(97%);height:1.5rem;content:'';display:inline-block;background-repeat:no-repeat;}.loaded .css-128xfoy:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/townandcountrymag/static/images/diamond-header-design-element.80fb60e.svg);}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-128xfoy:before{margin:0 0.625rem 0.25rem;}}

kate william college house

How Did Prince William and Kate Middleton Meet?

young prince charles

King Charles III's Life in Photos

camilla parker bowles

Queen Camilla's Life in Photos

a group of women posing for a photo

'The Crown' Leads BAFTA TV Nominations

elizabeth debicki

Elizabeth Debicki Wins SAG Award

dominic west as prince charles, olivia williams as camilla credit justin downing

Dominic West Stayed in Bed After 'The Crown'

princess diana elizabeth debicki revenge dress

The Crown's Costumes, Props, and More at Auction

us entertainment tv awards emmy arrivals red carpet

Elizabeth Debicki Stuns in Dior

75th primetime emmy awards arrivals

Elizabeth Debicki's Best Red Carpet Looks

81st golden globe awards show

Elizabeth Debicki Wins Golden Globe

jonathan pryce as prince philip

Jonathan Pryce Apologized to Princess Anne

IMAGES

  1. Royal Barge of Royal Yacht Britannia

    royal yacht britannia barge

  2. Sneak Peek Inside The Royal Yacht Britannia Edinburgh & Tour Review

    royal yacht britannia barge

  3. Royal Yacht Britannia in history

    royal yacht britannia barge

  4. The Royal Yacht Britannia

    royal yacht britannia barge

  5. The story behind the Royal Yacht Britannia

    royal yacht britannia barge

  6. Royal barge (tender)

    royal yacht britannia barge

VIDEO

  1. Royal Barge of Royal Yacht Britannia

  2. Get an inside look at Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Yacht Britannia

  3. A TOUR OF THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA

  4. Royal Yacht Britannia: Aboard the Floating Palace (2023)

  5. A tour of Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Yacht Britannia

  6. Full Tour Royal Yacht Britannia Edinburgh Scotland

COMMENTS

  1. HMY Britannia

    Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former royal yacht of the British monarchy.She was in their service from 1954 until 1997. She was the 83rd such vessel since King Charles II acceded to the throne in 1660, and is the second royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893. During her 43-year career, the yacht travelled more than a million ...

  2. Royal barge

    The Royal Barge on display next to the Royal Yacht Britannia The Royal Barge was a tender for HMY Britannia traditionally used to transport the royal family to and from the royal yacht. As part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee , the vessel was re-commissioned to take part in the Thames Pageant.

  3. The Royal Yacht Britannia

    The Royal Yacht Britannia in Hong Kong during its last voyage in July of 1997. ... as well as a cargo hold that could carry a barge, speed- and sailboats, plus a royal Range Rover and Rolls-Royce ...

  4. Photo tour: Inside the Royal Yacht Britannia

    Sitting alongside Britannia today, the royal barge was used to take the royal family ashore when the royal yacht was at anchor. David Swanson For USA TODAY Detail from the Royal Barge, a mythical ...

  5. Royal Barge of Royal Yacht Britannia

    The Royal Barge of HMY Britannia, which was once used for transporting the Queen and members of the Royal Family to and from the ship when arriving at differ...

  6. Royal barge tested before Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations

    The Royal Yacht Britannia's Royal Barge has been back in the water for the first time in 15 years. It underwent trials at Ocean Terminal in Leith ahead of a role in the Queen's diamond jubilee ...

  7. How Royal Britannia's barge plays part in Jubilee pageant

    How Royal Britannia's barge plays part ... of Edinburgh aboard a specially decorated royal barge down the River Thames. The barge was used to transport the Queen to and from the Royal Yacht, until ...

  8. Royal barge joins Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations

    The Royal Yacht Britannia's Royal Barge in Edinburgh is to feature in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations later this year. About 1,000 boats will gather for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant ...

  9. The Royal Yacht Britannia Official Website

    Step aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia. Start your tour at our entrance on the Ground Floor of Ocean Terminal. Please pre-book your tickets to guarantee admission. A great day out for all the family, explore each of the five decks at this top attraction in Edinburgh and discover what life was like on board Queen Elizabeth II's former floating ...

  10. Our Customs

    Royal Yacht Customs. When Yachtsmen joined Britannia, they were given a handbook explaining the rules of Royal Yacht Service. The following is an extract relating to the ship's customs. There are many Royal Yacht customs. Some are best passed on verbally, but a few are given below: 1. General Organisation and Routine. There is no broadcast system.

  11. The Royal Yacht

    Britannia carried the Royal family on 968 official voyages. Britannia is said to have traveled over one million miles around the world. The Royal Barge was traditionally used to transport the Royal family to and from The Royal Yacht until she was decommissioned in 1997.

  12. The Royal Yacht Britannia Feature Page on Undiscovered Scotland

    The Royal Yacht Britannia. The Royal Yacht Britannia Berthed at Princes Quay, Leith. After an active lifetime in which she sailed over a million miles, the Royal Yacht Britannia is one of the world's best known ships. Britannia was launched at John Brown's Shipyard in Clydebank on 16 April 1953 and she was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval ...

  13. Royal Yacht Britannia's tender to feature at Thames Pageant

    Originally used as the tender to the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Royal Barge has been launched for the first time in 15 years, to play a major role in the Thames Diamond Jubilee on 3 June. She will be tasked with the job of transporting Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to The Spirit of Chartwell. Peter Young, the last coxswain of ...

  14. The Queen's travels: Follow Elizabeth's trips through the decades

    A media highlight of the visit came when she was photographed leaping ashore from a barge, after disembarking from her ship, the Royal Yacht Britannia. ... the Royal Yacht Britannia. 1972 ...

  15. Diamond Jubilee pageant: Explore our high-definition picture

    The Royal Yacht Britannia's barge took the Queen and Prince Philip from Chelsea Pier to the elaborately decorated Spirit of Chartwell. This vessel used to take the Queen to and from the former ...

  16. Royal yacht

    A royal yacht is a ship used by a monarch or a royal family. ... Cleopatra's Barge (1820-1824) renamed Haʻaheo o Hawaiʻi ("Pride of Hawaii") ... Since the decommissioning of Britannia in 1997 the British monarchy no longer has a royal yacht. Other nations

  17. Royal Yacht Britannia

    The Royal Barge is in full working order and kept afloat in a special pond at the bottom of the gangway of the Former Royal Yacht Britannia. The Barge was transported to London in 2012 and led the pagent on the River Thames to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.

  18. PDF The Royal Yacht Britannia

    THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA APPLICANT INFORMATION PACK CHIEF EXECUTIVE TRUST. F ollowing 25 years at the helm, our founding ... former River Thames Royal Barge, ROYAL NORE - a unique collection, four of which are on the National Historic Ships Register. Our success is founded on delivering great

  19. See Photos of Queen Elizabeth's 1994 State Visit to Russia

    During the trip, Prince Philip and the Queen hosted the Yeltsins on board the Royal Yacht Britannia for a banquet. Martin Keene - PA Images // Getty Images.

  20. Rishi sinks £250m plan for new 'Royal Yacht Britannia'

    A £250million scheme to create a successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia has been sunk by Rishi Sunak as as part of a squeeze on government spending.. Ministers confirmed today that the proposal ...