Royal seal of approval

SUFFOLK marine journalist and photographer Richard Johnstone-Bryden has received the royal seal of approval after spending three years creating the official history of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

SUFFOLK marine journalist and photographer Richard Johnstone-Bryden has received the royal seal of approval after spending three years creating the official history of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

For the book was launched this week at a glittering ceremony at St James's Palace attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, who had personally read each chapter as it was completed.

The book has been published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the launch of the famous yacht - which became the last in a three-century line of royal yachts when she was retired in 1997.

Britannia had become something of a political hot potato because of annual running costs average £10 million - and the vital refit which would have been needed for her to sail on for another decade would have cost more than twice that amount.


You may also want to watch:


But speaking at the launch, Prince Phillip said she had "reflected our long maritime tradition and managed to project the very best British characteristics to people all over the world".

"This country depends on seaborne commerce but now there is nothing like a Royal Yacht to further that trade. She will be sorely missed," he said. "I congratulate the author on undertaking the mammoth task to tell her story."

Most Read

The Duke has also written the foreword to the book, which he said was a very important volume.

"The author has produced a full and fascinating account of the career of this remarkable ship," he wrote. "It is also well timed as it has enabled him to interview many of the people who have first-hand experience of her story."

Those interviewees included the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the Princess Royal, along with former American President Gerald Ford and former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Richard, of Halesworth, said he had been amazed but delighted when he landed permission to write the 310-page volume.

"I said I would only do it if I had the full support of the Royal Family and the officers and men who sailed on Britannia," he said.

"In the event, I found myself given unprecedented access to a treasure trove of documentation and some fabulous reminiscences."

Since being decommissioned in 1997, Britannia is now run as a floating museum by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust at permanent moorings at Leith, in Scotland, and will be the centrepiece of an International Festival of the Sea at the port this bank holiday.

The Royal Yacht Britannia: The Official History is published by Conway Maritime Press at £25.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus