All aboard! Royal Yacht Britannia leaves Scotland for key Diamond Jubilee role

The Edinburgh-based royal barge the Royal Yacht Britannia is currently making the all-important journey from Leith to London by road today, in time for Sunday’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

The magnificent ship was used to transport the Queen to and from the Royal Yacht, until being decommissioned in 1997.

It has now been made seaworthy again, and will carry Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the start of the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday, June 3, to the royal barge The Spirit of Chartwell.

STV spoke to the crew of Royal Yacht Britannia earlier this month as they prepared the vessel for the important occasion.

Peter ‘Brigham’ Young, a former royal barge coxswain, said the crew were eagerly anticipating the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

“We’re going to be nervous, obviously we are, but we’re going to be very proud also. It’s a job we’ve trained to do before in the past, but it will be a great joy for us and a great feeling of achievement when the Queen steps off and we’ve done our bit.”

Bob Downie of the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, said a lot of work has gone into getting the boat seaworthy again.

He told STV: “The engines by now have not run for 15 years, so we thought it was pretty impossible, but for the last six months a couple of yacht engineers have been coming up to help us, and we’re delighted that the boat is fully re-commissioned and going down to London for June 3.”

The Thames will be the setting for a spectacular scene on Sunday. More than 1,000 boats will travel down the river, with the main Royal party for the weekend – The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry – travelling on the Spirit of Chartwell.

Other members of the Royal Family will travel on various other vessels, and Kate Middleton – aka Duchess of Cambridge – will no doubt be delighted  by news that parents and siblings will also be in attendance, on the Elizabethan, a replica 1890s Mississippi paddle steamer.

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