Monday, 27 September 2010

No.394 Of Rule Britannia and the Royals

I spent a good part of last weekend in Edinburgh. I had forgotten what a great city it is and bathed as it was in glorious sunshine it made for a great two days of relaxation.
On Saturday afternoon I visited the Britannia which was decommissioned as the Royal yacht in 1996..
It's an astonishing vessel and a fine museum to how Royalty did Royalty from the early 1950s up until very recently.
Each visitor is given a handheld guide which tells you all the secrets belonging to each room as you go around. What's worth listening to is the lines in between the lines. For example, it tells you that a double bed didn't make it onto the ship before the honeymoon of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in the 80s. Then you see the single bedrooms of her Majesty and Prince Philip laid end to end at the back of the ship. It had a shared door where presumably the Prince could steal in at the dead of night and lament on the end of Her Majesty's bed just how ghastly the evening's pudding was.
The main dining room is breathtaking. It took 3 hours to prepare the 120 places with each item of cutlery set down with a ruler to make sure it was placed exactly 3 centimetres from the each of the edge of the table.
Until 1970 the Marines who travelled with the Royals to provide the band music when they arrived at port slept in hammocks but by the early 1990s they were sending as many as 6 shirts a day to the laundry room as they changed from one formal duty to another.
Different world then I thought as I jetted back to Belfast for £50 on my Easyjet flight.

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