United Kingdom

Build new Royal Yacht as tribute to Prince Philip, Boris Johnson told

Boris Johnson has been urged to consider sanctioning a successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia as a memorial to the Duke of Edinburgh, it emerged last night. 

Politicians and business leaders have called for the construction of the vessel to serve as a sister ship to aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.

Prince Philip, who died on Friday at Windsor Castle aged 99, served with the Royal Navy in the Second World War and was Lord High Admiral at the time of his death.

He travelled 70,000 miles on Britannia, including on two round-the-world trips, before it was decommissioned in 1997.

Philip also played a key role in the commissioning and design of the original yacht in the 1950s.

Boris Johnson has been urged to consider sanctioning a successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia as a memorial to the Duke of Edinburgh. Pictured: The Queen and Prince Philip leave the Royal Yacht Britannia for the last time in Portsmouth where it was paid off in 1997

Philip travelled 70,000 miles on Britannia, including on two round-the-world trips, before it was decommissioned in 1997.

Calls for a replacement have been made several times before, but now MPs believe making the ship as a memorial to the Duke would make it more appropriate.

One Cabinet minister told the Sunday Telegraph that the ship could receive backing if it doubled as hospital ship or a training vessel as well as serving the Royal Family.

They said: 'Having a symbol of the nation that can travel the world, be used by the Royal family and have another sensible purpose such as helping young people is a better scheme. It could also be a flagship for reinvigorated British shipbuilding.'

They added that an announcement on such a ship, which would cost around £190million, could be tied to the Queen's diamond jubilee next year.

Calls for a replacement have been made several times before, but now MPs believe making the ship as a memorial to the Duke would make it more appropriate.

Number 10 sources gave the proposal for a successor a cautious welcome, saying it was a 'nice idea' but they would have to consider the country's wider shipbuilding plans first.

Tory MP Craig MacKinlay, who has been co-ordinating a Westminster group backing plans for a new yacht, told the paper: 'The towering figure that was the Duke of Edinburgh deserves a permanent tribute to his support for the country, the Commonwealth and the Queen.' 

Jake Berry, the chairman of the Northern Research Group of Conservative MPs, said: 'The Duke of Edinburgh was well known for his love of Britannia – it is a fitting tribute to now create a new royal yacht named the Duke of Edinburgh in his memory and for the Queen.' 

Philip died at Windsor Castle on Friday, with the Queen reportedly at his bedside

Britannia is now berthed at Edinburgh, where she is one of the UK's most popular tourist attractions.

A secret naval design for a £100 million replacement was drawn up by naval staff and approved by representatives of the Royal family, but the Labour Government refused to pay for it. 

Writing on the decision to decommission the vessel, Philip said in a 2003 that it 'signalled the end of an unbroken succession of Royal Yachts dating back to the reign of King Charles II'.

There have also been calls for Philip to be honoured with a statue in London in recognition of his 'great personal dedication and support to Her Majesty the Queen'.

A petition on Change.org has already attracted almost 6,000 signatures.

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