In truth, Britain has done well without Britain. While Queen Elizabeth II is known to wipe away a tear when she attended the yacht’s decommissioning ceremony, the royal family was adamantly silent about her replacement. According to The Daily Mail, she objected to the proposal to name the new ship the Duke of Edinburgh after the Queen’s husband. Prince Philip, who died in April… The Duke, a former naval officer, had a hand in the design of the original Britain.
Under the influence of Prince Charles, the royal family became susceptible to ostentatious displays of wealth, especially when they drain the public purse. The 95-year-old queen no longer travels overseas, so the yacht will be used by her heir Charles and his son Prince William, neither of whom has her emotional connection to Britain.
Some wonder if the whole royal yacht concept is outdated in an era when the UK is negotiating complex bilateral trade agreements with Australia, the US and other countries.
“At its best, it can be useful as a trade facilitation tool,” said Sam Lowe, a trade expert at the Center for European Reforms in London. “But it won’t make any difference whether the UK gets the trade deal or not.”
The yacht also lacks an obvious military purpose, even if the Department of Defense is likely to provide her crew and pay at least part of her operating bill.
But all of this can be missing the point. Andrew Gimson, one of Johnson’s biographers, said his favorite projects – be they cool retro buses or bridges with gardens – invariably serve political ends. According to him, Mr. Johnson is like a Roman emperor wearing public shows. The Royal Yacht is a reminder of the glory of Britain’s imperial past for a country still striving for a post-Brexit identity.