Will the Queen borrow tycoon’s £50m yacht for her Jubilee flotilla?

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Leander.jpgWith the Royal Yacht Britannia now retired and serving as a popular tourist attraction at Leith docks, the Queen is having to search for a suitable vessel to lead a 1,000-strong flotilla on the Thames, which is expected to be one of the highlights of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year.
Hebridean Princess, the luxury cruise ship which she has twice chartered for holidays, is not an option, and my colleague Victoria Murphy reports that she has been offered the use of a £50 million private yacht owned by the business tycoon who made his fortune with National Car Parks (NCP).
Sir Donald Gosling, 82, entertained the Queen to lunch on board the 75-metre (246-ft) Leander (above) at Gunwharf Quays in Portsomouth in May and a friend is reported as saying “He will always do anything he can to offer his services to Queen and country.”
The jubilee flotilla on June 3 next year will feature privately-owned and commercial historic craft – from rowing boats and sailing ships to steam-powered vessels and larger, modern motorised craft. The public will be invited to take part, and one former Royal Yachtsman I spoke to on board Britannia earlier this month said he and his colleagues had registered – though they do not yet have a suitable boat.
What will the Queen find on board if she does borrow Leander – which can command about £375,000 for a week’s charter?
The yacht has a crew of 24, including two chefs – although if she follows the practice which has operated when she charters Hebridean Princess, they will be left ashore while Palace chefs take over the galley. Britannia had a crew of more than 200, including 16 cooks and a butcher. Hebridean’s crew totals 37.
Leander’s chintz-filled Saloon (below, top) is surprisingly reminiscent of Britannia’s magnificent State Drawing Room (centre); Hebridean’s Tiree Lounge is smaller but boasts an impressive brick fireplace and chimney breast.
Leander’s Master Stateroom (below, top) is far grander than the Queen’s modest bedroom (centre) with its austere single bed. The Duke of Edinburgh’s room is further down the corridor. On Hebridean Princess, the largest cabin is the Isle of Arran Suite.
State 1.jpgqueensbed.jpgArran.jpg
Only Britannia, however, has its own garage, capable of holding a Rolls Royce Phantom or a Royal Land-Rover. But Her Majesty won’t be needing road transport when she takes to the Thames.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:05+00:00 24 June 2011|Cruise News, Cruise Ships|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. LEANDERER 6 July 2011 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Thank you for bringing together pictures of the interiors of these three ships.It’s fascinating to compare them

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