Recently I was honoured to be invited on to Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia. Now for those of you who may not know, the British Royal family for several hundred years have owned a Royal Yacht. Britannia to date is the last Royal yacht and was decommissioned in 1995. She is now based in Leith, Scotland and has become Scotland’s Number one Tourist attraction. I was thrilled to be invited to go onboard to have a look around including seeing the drawing room and dining room.
When we arrived, I was invited on board via the VIP entrance which is used for guests hosting private events on the ship or VIP visitors. I was most impressed at the size and the grandeur of Britannia. It is small in terms of modern yachts, yet it is beautiful and tasteful. It is also slightly dated but this adds to the character and history of the ship.
When we arrived, I was shown into one of the meeting rooms which has a waitress/butler in attendance to offer us tea/coffee and cakes. May I add the carrot cake was delicious and beautifully presented on fine china plates with lovely paper napkins with the Britannia crest on each one. After the meeting, we were offered a tour of the ship’s main features which included the sun lounge, drawing room and dining room. I was delighted to be asked to go into the drawing room for a few photographs. Everything is still as it was when the Queen and the Royal family were still on board. In fact, the clocks are all stopped at 15.01 which was the time the Queen last left the ship.
After the drawing room and a quick look at the sun lounge, we then went to see the dining room. I was asked my advice on the layup of the table which was beautifully done. The only thing I noted was the the butter knives were placed incorrectly on the butter dishes and I was permitted to move these to where I felt they should go, which is just in front of each dish. Once I moved these I did say I would not be offended if they moved them back, however since then I have been in touch with Bruce who is the head of events and he informed me that he would leave the knives in their new positions, which I felt very honoured to be told. In a way, I also felt I was helping to keep up the Royal standards which this ship was also known for. Britannia was a way of taking British customs and traditions across the world with the Royal family or government minsters. I also checked the spacing of the cutlery and glassware and made a few other suggestions as I went around which will hopefully assist them during their events.
I was then invited to view the display cupboards where I recognised the glassware which had the initials ER and the candlestick lights which were used on board. When Britannia was in service, no naked flames were used onboard; instead they used electric light bulbs on the candlesticks which, if I may say, worked beautifully. Back in 1992 there was a wonderful documentary about Britannia which I watched as a child and in fact, it was this documentary on ER that gave me the dream and ambition to one day work for the Royal family and serve the Queen.
After spending a few hours on the ship, it was time to disembark, with time for a few more photographs then it was time to leave; however I hope that it will not be long until I return and look forward to seeing if any of my other suggestions have been taken onboard.
While on board, Bruce and myself discussed napkin folding and he kindly sent me a link to some interesting folds. . Here is my youtube video with me demonstrating a few of them - youtube.com/theroyalbutler