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Tuesday, May 5, 1998 Published at 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK


Britannia completes final journey

Britannia on her final journey to her permanent home of the port of Leith

The Royal yacht Britannia is about to reach her final resting place at the port of Leith in Edinburgh.

Greeted by a civic reception attended by thousands of people in the Scottish capital, the Queen's former ship will soon complete its final voyage after a five-day journey hampered by gale force winds and heavy seas under tow from Portsmouth.

The 44-year-old yacht will undergo a four-month refit programme before becoming Edinburgh's newest tourist attraction later this summer. She will eventually become the focal point of a new £60m ocean terminal being built at Leith.

[ image: Fitted for a queen]
Fitted for a queen
The yacht will be owned by a charitable trust, which will be responsible for her. All proceeds from visiting tourists will go towards keeping her upkeep.

Leith was chosen by the government to be Britannia's home of retirement, after it decided to decommission the ship because increasing running costs.

Edinburgh, which has been a Royal port for more than six centuries, was one of nine cities competing for the Royal trophy.

Scottish pride

When the announcement was made in April, Donald Anderson, of the Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board, said the yacht would be a great boost to Scotland and help revitalise the area.

"This is great news for the city," said Mr Anderson. "The Queen is a regular visitor to the city and Britannia has been here many previous times."

The floating ambassador, which clocked up more than one million miles, has been prominent on the world stage, carrying the Royal Family overseas on state visits.

It has also been used extensively for entertaining foreign dignitaries and has been available for hire for commercial activities.

Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar said the choice of Leith was "entirely fitting".

"The Britannia's re-location to Leith will provide further evidence of the standard which the comprehensive redevelopment of Leith is now attaining," Mr Dewar said.

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Britannia given final resting place

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