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

Geologist James Hutton died - On this day in history

Geologist James Hutton, who carried out pioneering studies into the formation of the earth, died on 26 March ...


Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust celebrates royal patronage

His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, has agreed to take on the patronage of the ...


Robert the Bruce was crowned at Scone - On this day in history

On 25 March 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots at Scone. ...


Princess Louise: The career of a royal artist, part 4

In part 4 of our history series based on new research on the life of Princess Louise, daughter of Queen ...


Other Articles

King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England - On this day in history

On 24 March 1603, King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England, on the death of Queen ...


Reverend Thomas Burns founded his Free Church settlement in New Zealand - On this day in history

On 23 March 1848, Reverend Thomas Burns founded the Free Church Settlement in New Zealand, which later became ...


Architect Alexander Greek Thomson died - On this day in history

Architect Alexander 'Greek' Thomson died on 22 March 1875 in Glasgow.


The Murrayfield Stadium was opened - On this day in history

Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium was opened on 21 March 1925.