Sunday, July 29, 2018

Royal Yacht Britannia Part II: Afternoon tea on Great Britain's (not so long lasting) Love Boat

Enjoying a cream tea on the Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia was not only the vacation residence of Queen Elizabeth for four decades, (as noted in our earlier blog Royal Yacht Britannia. . . Floating Palace), but a honeymoon hotel for four Royal couples. Although all four marriages ended in divorce, it was, for awhile, Great Britain's Love Boat, exciting and new. Come aboard, as we share with you. . . .

First to honeymoon on the Royal Yacht, Princess Margaret & Antony Armstrong Jones. Wedding photo hangs in Britannia.

Being a close relative to The Queen gives you an edge on securing the Royal Yacht for a honeymoon. The first  to use the floating palace as an apres-wedding resort, was Queen Elizabeth's sister, Margaret, and her husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones back in 1960. (For those of you who are fans of Netflix's "The Crown", you know theirs was a bit of a rocky romance from the start.) According to the Royal Yacht Britannia's website, the newlyweds traveled to the Caribbean. The Admiral ordered instructions to the crew that the couple were to have complete privacy. Though they stayed primarily in the Royal apartments while on board, all their  meals were formal and taken while in full evening dress. Staying classy while enjoying life's sweetest reward

The first honeymooners kept their privacy, the dining room may have been a bit empty. 

Thirteen years later, The Queen's daughter, Anne, and her spouse, Captain Mark Phillips, were on the Royal Yacht for their honeymoon, also in the Caribbean.  Unfortunately, the first half of the voyage was met with dramatic storms that gave the two "severe seasickness" and most probably sent them hastily to visit Doc to make sure love didn't hurt anymore.

First double bed was ordered by Prince Charles for his honeymoon with Princess Di

Certainly,  the most famous honeymoon couple to board the Yacht was Prince Charles and Princess Di. Their destination was the Greek Islands, where, amazingly, the press was kept away. Because of this, it was dubbed "The Ghost Ship".  On our tour of the Royal Yacht, we learned that it was Prince Charles who requested the first (and only) double bed to be brought on board for the couples' 1981 post nuptials vacation. That was surely setting a course, . .  for a new romance.

(While we're on the topic of bedrooms, the Royal apartments are all lovely, twin bed or double, but we also got a peek  at the crew's accommodations. Tight for even the staff of the Pacific Princess).

Efficient but cramped crew quarters. (Not much room for Gopher or Isaac) 

The last honeymooners on the Royal Yacht were Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1985. Their course was chartered for the Azores. Some of islands were so isolated, they could only be reached by a rubber dinghy. Since no disruptions were reported, we're assuming they were met with open smiles on a friendly shore.

After all that focus on romance, I joined my love, Chris, on the yacht's Royal Deck Tea Room for a little something to delight  both of us:  cream tea for me and the drink of the natives for Chris (i.e, Scotch). The tour continued, indeed!

Cream tea for one, at a table for two, on the Royal Yacht

Although not on our honeymoon, we were, at the time of our visit, just two weeks shy of our 35th wedding anniversary. A toast at the Royal Deck Tea Room was most definitely in order.

Toasting to 35th wedding anniversary at the Royal Deck Tea Room 

My  "Cream Tea for One" included my choice of tea (Earl Grey, of course), a sandwich, a slice of cake and a  glass of Sparkling Rose.  All were absolutely divine! 

Our tablescape was casual, with distinctive Britannia-branded paper napkins,  but with a million dollar view.

A stop at the Royal Yacht's gift shop brought this bounty.

To remember our visit of the Royal Yacht, we stopped at its gift shop (yes! there is one) on the way out and  purchased not only the upcoming Royal Wedding souvenirs, but the same Britannia-branded napkins used in the Royal Deck Tea Room.  (We plan to "replicate" the experience of the Royal Deck Tea Room on our own fishing - and long lasting love -boat, docked in northern Michigan, when we stop at Lewiston Lodge for pizza, served up with H.M.Y. Britannia napkins.)

Although the Britannia is permanently  docked in Edinburgh, and it may not make another run, like the Love Boat, it does promise something for everyone! Come aboard, it's expecting you!

No comments: