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A new royal yacht is to be commissioned by the British government in honour of late Prince Philip, according to numerous media outlets. UK prime minister Boris Johnson might formally announce plans for the national flagship soon. The cost of building the vessel is reported to be in excess of £200 million (c. €231 million).
The royal yacht would be a successor to HMY Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997 by Tony Blair's government. It was popularly known as the Queen's 'floating palace' and was in service from 1954 until 1997. Since being decommissioned, it has been berthed in Leith, Edinburgh and used as a tourist attraction.
The government has faced a storm of public opinion on social media after the news of the royal yacht surfaced. Senior government sources suggest that the new royal yacht would promote British businesses overseas and the UK's interests all over the world. It could also be used to host members of the Royal Family on overseas visits, as well as diplomatic summits and talks.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who died aged 99 on 9th April 2021, was Lord High Admiral from 2011 until his death and he served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay released a joint letter signed by fellow MPs and peers in favour of the new ship. He said he was "overjoyed" to hear it may be getting built. He further added that a new national flagship "proudly" bearing the name of Prince Philip can be no better memorial to this "much-loved and respected man".
When Boris Johnson was foreign secretary, he said that the commissioning of a new royal yacht would "add greatly" to the soft power of the United Kingdom. However, he also noted that taxpayers should not fund it. "The new Britannia should not be a call on the taxpayer. If it can be done privately, I am sure it would attract overwhelming support," Johnson said as per reports published on 13th March 2017.
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