12/11/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Ten quirky facts you (probably) didn't know about The Royal Yacht Britannia

95ca91a3-c397-41f7-bf94-23e194763418

Why are all the clocks on The Royal Yacht Britannia stopped at 3.01pm? And why did the Royal Yacht have a jelly room? Find out the answers to these questions - and discover other facts - in this special Britannia fact file.

1. Britannia travelled over 1,000,000 nautical miles around the globe.

2. The vessel spans over 412 feet in length and bears no rivet marks or name on her side.

3. Britannia was the only vessel in the Royal Navy to have a 24-hour laundry with its own crew. Up to 600 shirts alone could pass through the washers and dryers in one day.

4. Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship during times of war. Although never used in this capacity, she did successfully evacuate over 1,000 refugees from war-torn Aden in 1986.

5. ‘Wombat Tennis’ was a favourite game played by Officers in the Wardroom. The game began when the ‘ball’, a soft wombat toy gifted to the Officers by one of The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, was thrown up at the ceiling fan and batted from one side of the room to the other.

6. Instead of the traditional champagne, a bottle of Empire wine was smashed against Britannia's hull at her launch on April 16,1953. Champagne was considered too extravagant in post-war Britain.

7. As a Ship of State, the Royal Yacht has three masts. Hidden beneath the base of each are a number of coins which were placed there in 1953 as payment to the angels to guard the souls of the sailors.

8. There was a special cold room called the ‘Jelly Room’, where the Royal children’s jellies were stored.

9. All the clocks on board remain stopped at 3:01pm, the exact time The Queen was piped ashore for the last time.

10. State banquets were set with 56 places. It took around three hours to complete. The position of every knife, fork and spoon was measured meticulously with a ruler. The tradition continues today for private functions held on board.

Visit The Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over forty years, sailing more than 1,000,000 miles around the world. Now berthed in Edinburgh, you can follow in the footsteps of royalty to discover the heart and soul of this most special of Royal residences.

For more on The Royal Yacht Britannia, visit the website. Phone: 0131 555 5566; e-mail.

QUICK LINK: Ten facts you (probably) didn't know about Rosslyn Chapel

(images courtesy of The Royal Yacht Britannia, copyright Marc Millar)

Back to "History Scotland expert blogs" Category

12/11/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

On this day in Scottish history - King James VII of Scotland died

King James VII of Scotland died on 16 September 1701. ...


The Hector emigrant ship left Loch Broom bound for Canada

The Hector emigrant ship left Loch Broom bound for Canada on 15 September 1773.


Geographer Robert Gordon was born - On this day in history

Scottish geographer Robert Gordon of Straloch was born on 14 September 1580. ...


Call and Response: The University of Glasgow & Slavery

Members of the public are invited to react and respond to a new exhibition at the University of Glasgow that ...


Other Articles

On this day in Scottish history - Scottish horticulturist William McNab died

Scottish horticulturist William McNab died on 12 September 1848.


The Battle of Stirling Bridge was fought - On this day in history

The Battle of Stirling Bridge was fought on 11 September 1297.


The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh was fought - On this day in history

The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh was fought on 10 September 1547. ...


King James IV was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field - On this day in history

King James IV of Scotland was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field on 9 September 1513.