The Crown recreates the iconic Royal Yacht Britannia
The Crown series five looks set to recreate the emotional retirement of the Royal Yacht Britannia as a replica of the iconic liner joins Buckingham Palace and Downing Street on the show’s set in Elstree
- The top deck of the HMY Britannia was built at The Crown’s backlot in Elstree, joining replicas of Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street
- The yacht transported members of the Royal Family to over 600 foreign trips and engagements during its 43 years in service
- It’s thought the boat could be to replicate Britannia’s retirement in 1997 attended by senior members of the Royal Family, where The Queen reportedly shed a tear
- It came during a turbulent time for the Royals, who faced increased public scrutiny in the wake of Princess Diana’s death
- The Royal Yacht was retired from service in 1997 is now permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh
The Crown’s fifth series appears to be recreating the emotional retirement of the Royal Yacht Britannia, after a replica of the famous ship was built on the show’s set in Elstree.
The famous top deck, which transported members of the Royal Family to over 600 foreign trips and engagements during its 43 years in service, has been rebuilt on a backlot at the north London set, and could be seen alongside remakes of the Buckingham Palace entrance, and the front door of 10 Downing Street.
Also known as HMY Britannia, the Royal Yacht was retired from service in 1997 with a moving ceremony attended by The Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles, and is now permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh.
Getting to work: The Crown series five appears to be recreating the emotional retirement of the Royal Yacht Britannia, after a replica of the famous liner was built on the show’s set in Elstree
Ahead of filming the scenes, crew were seen building the top deck of the Britannia, with green screen panels attached to the edges to replicate the ocean.
Surrounding the yacht were various cranes as work continued to build the series five set ahead of its planned release in 2022.
The set also included replicas of the famous arches that act as the entrance to Buckingham Palace, as well as the entrance to Downing Street.
Transformed: The set also appeared to feature replicas of the Buckingham Palace entrance, as well as the famous front door for 10 Downing Street
Legendary: The famous top deck of the HMY Britannia (pictured in 1996) transported members of the Royal Family to over 600 foreign trips and engagements during its 43 years in service, before retiring in 1997
Preparations: Ahead of filming the scenes, crew were seen building the top deck of the Britannia, with green screen panels attached to the edges to replicate the ocean
Transformation: Surrounding the yacht were various cranes as work continued to build the series five set ahead of its planned release in 2022
Famous liner: HMY Britannia first set sail on her maiden voyage from Portsmouth to the Grand Harbour in Malta on 14 April 1952, and famously hosted the Royal Family during their annual Western Isles Tour in Scotland
HMY Britannia first set sail on her maiden voyage from Portsmouth to the Grand Harbour in Malta on 14 April 1952, carrying Princess Anne and her brother Prince Charles, so they could reunite with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the end of their Commonwealth tour.
The Queen first boarded the yacht at Tobruk in the country then known as the Kingdom of Libya in May 1954, and she famously became the first British monarch to visit Chicago in 1959 when the yacht docked in the city.
When on its royal duties, HMY Britannia was escorted by a Royal Navy warship, it became a regular sight at Cowes Week in the Isle of Wight, and was also a home to the Royal Family during their annual Western Isles Tour in Scotland.
Moving: It’s thought that The Crown bosses are recreating the yacht’s retirement in 1997, where the Queen reportedly shed a tear, at a time when the Royal Family had faced much criticism for their reaction to the death of Princess Diana
Spitting image: The outdoor set 9left) also featured a replica of the Buckingham Palace entrance and gates (right), surrounded by green screens ahead of filming for series five
Throughout her royal career, Britannia conveyed the Royal Family and various dignitarites on 696 foreign visits, and steamed a total of 1,087,623 nautical miles.
In 1994 the Conservative Government, then led by Prime Minister John Major, announced that the yacht would be retired, with Viscount Cranborn saying in the House Of Lords: ‘The yacht last underwent a major refit in 1987. A further refit at an estimated cost of some £17 million would be necessary in 1996–97 but would only prolong her life for a further five years.
‘In view of her age, even after the refit she would be difficult to maintain and expensive to run. It has therefore been decided to decommission Britannia in 1997. The Government will now consider the question of whether to replace Britannia.’
Replica: The backlot (left) also appeared to feature a replica of the famous front door to 10 Downing Street (right), as the show transitions to the 1990s when John Major was Prime Minister
Ahead of the 1997 General Election, the Labour opposition vowed that they would not replace the Britannia with the use of public funds, and after Tony Blair was appointed Prime Minister, it was agreed that the yacht would not be replaced.
Britannia’s final foreign mission took place on 1 July 1997, to transport the last Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, and Prince Charles back from the island after its handover to the People’s Republic of China.
The liner was then officially decommissioned on 11 December 1997 in a moving ceremony attended by most senior members of the Royal Family, and it’s been reported that a Queen shed a tear during the occasion.
It came during a turbulent period for the family, having faced much public scrutiny over their reaction to the the death of Princess Diana four months earlier.
In the works: Filming for The Crown’s fifth season kicked off earlier this month, and it is expected to air sometime in 2022
Her Royal Highness: The very first image of Imelda Staunton in character as Queen Elizabeth II was revealed earlier this month
Congrats! Lesley Manville has been cast as Princess Margaret (right in 1966) for the fifth and sixth seasons of The Crown
New role: The Two Popes actor Jonathan Pryce, 73, has said he is ‘confident’ to take on the ‘daunting’ role of Prince Philip in The Crown’s final two seasons
The Crown’s fifth series will see Imelda Staunton take over the role of the Queen from Olivia Colman, while Lesley Manville is set to play her sister Princess Margaret, replacing Helena Bonham Carter.
Jonathan Pryce, 73, will take over the role of Prince Philip for the seasons showing the Royals navigating the 1990s and early 2000s.
Elizabeth Debicki will take over the coveted role of Princess Diana from Emma Corrin, while Dominic West will play Prince Charles.
James Murray will take on the role of Prince Andrew, replacing Tom Byrne, who played the Queen’s second son in series four.
Casting: It was announced that Elizabeth Debicki had been cast as Princess Diana last August, and fans of the Netflix show were delighted to hear that the Australian actress would be taking on the role
Leading man: Dominic West will take on the role of Prince Charles (right in 1996), at a time when his marriage to Diana came to a turbulent end. A first look at the actor in character was released earlier this month (left)
The Crown series 5: James Murray is set to take on the role of Prince Andrew following his TV appearances in Cutting It and Primeval (James pictured in 2018)
The final two series of The Crown will cover the Royal Family’s history throughout the 1990s and into 2003, however it is not yet known which moments will be seen.
There are several poignant moments which could be used, including the Queen making a speech on her 40th anniversary of her accession in 1992, in which she called the year an ‘annus horriblis’.
She was referring to the breakdown of three of her children’s marriages; Prince Andrew, Princess Anne’s and Prince Charles’ divorce from Princess Diana.
Who’s who? The actress playing Princess Anne in The Crown’s fifth season has been revealed as The IT Crowd and Humans star Claudia Harrison
Key historical moments involving the Royal Family between 1999 and 2003
1999: The marriage of the Queen’s son Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex: The wedding took place at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
2000: The Queen celebrates the Millennium: Millennium celebrations take place throughout the UK. The Millennium Dome in London is officially opened by HM The Queen on January 1.
2001: Queen Elizabeth reacts to 9/11 terrorist attacks: A week after the tragedy she sent a message to the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer to offer her condolences.
She wrote: ‘Each and every one of us has been shocked and numbed by what we have witnessed in these recent days.
‘At your service today, we think especially of the British victims. These are dark and harrowing times for families and friends of those who are missing or who suffered in the attack – many of you here today.
‘My thoughts and my prayers are with you all now and in the difficult days ahead’.
On September 13 The Queen ordered the Changing of the Guard ceremony to be paused for a two minute silence, followed by the playing of the American national anthem.
2002: The Queen’s Golden Jubilee: The Queen celebrated the milestone on February 6 and it was an international event to mark the 50th anniversary of her ascension to the throne.
On June 4, an estimated one million people headed to central London to line The Mall on the last day of the official celebrations.
Queen guitarist Brian May played ‘God Save The Queen’ from the roof of Buckingham Palace in her honour.
2002: The Queen dines at 10 Downing Street with the five living former Prime Ministers who served under her. She met with Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan and Edward Heath.
2002: The death of Princess Margaret: The Queen’s younger sister dies after suffering a stroke aged 71. The pair had had a troubled relationship after The Queen said she couldn’t marry her love Peter Townsend.
2002: The Queen Mother dies: She passed away aged 101 at Royal Lodge Windsor.
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