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Tuesday, October 19, 1999 Published at 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK

UK: Scotland

Britannia makes big tourism splash

Britannia has sailed more than a million miles

Nearly half a million people have walked the decks of the former Royal yacht Britannia since it berthed in Edinburgh as a permanent tourist attraction a year ago.

The ship, recently voted the UK's best new tourist draw, was visited by 436,619 people - more than double the anticipated number.

The achievement has been marked by the launch of a new tartan, based on the ship's own colours and designed by the royal family's official kiltmakers Kinloch Anderson.

Staff on board will be dressed in uniforms made of the tartan and merchandise including bags, umbrellas and hats will be sold from the visitors centre.

'Massive curiosity'

Britannia general manager Bob Downie said the tartan was crucial for the new image of the former royal yacht.

[ image:
"A floating palace"
"She was an important British icon throughout the world and there is a massive curiosity from the general public about what she is really like inside

"I think it shows how strong interest in the royal family still is and because we have got the monarchy watching us as well as the public, we have to make sure we are a cut above the rest.

"The smart uniforms and individual identity of the vessel and its tartan are all part of ensuring Britannia's future in Edinburgh," Mr Downie added.

Commissioned in 1953, the former Royal Yacht Britannia was one of the world's most famous ships and the jewel in the crown of Britain's maritime history.

'Floating palace'

Often described as the Queen's floating palace, the sumptuous state apartments, including the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's bedrooms, are on public view.

It took Prince Charles and Diana on their ill-fated honeymoon, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson on theirs, as well as Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon.

During her Royal duty the yacht travelled the world seven times, a distance of over more than one million miles.

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