Will Prince Philip’s memorial be a royal yacht?

A Royal Yacht Britannia has been proposed as a memorial for the Duke of Edinburgh

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 8: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, smiles after unveiling a plaque at the end of his visit to Richmond Adult Community College in Richmond on June 8, 2015 in London, England. Prince Philip, officially opened and was shown round the new art, drama and dance facilities at the further education college which offers up to 2,000 courses. (Photo by Matt Dunham - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
(Image credit: Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

A small number of politicians have called on Boris Johnson to celebrate Prince Philip’s legacy with a new yacht, following the royal consort’s death on Friday. 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s passing has been met with an outpouring of national and global grief, with many royal fans taking to social media to offer their condolences. The prince died aged 99 at his home of Windsor Castle in London on April 9, after several months of poor health. 

With his funeral closed to the public and mourning customs restricted, many people have felt unable to fully pay their respects to the Queen’s husband. Ideas on how best to commemorate Prince Philip’s life have been circulating since, with some suggesting a memorial that reflects the duke’s impressive Navy career. 

A small number of Conservative MPs and Cabinet ministers have proposed the establishment of a new Royal Yacht Britannia, to be named HMY The Duke of Edinburgh. The previous yacht retired from service in 1997 after 43 years in action and is now a tourist attraction in Edinburgh. Supporters of the marine memorial believe that a vessel would be a fitting tribute to the prince, who traveled over 70,000 miles on the original ship. 

Serge Lemoine/Getty Images

The Royal Yacht Britannia in 1977 

(Image credit: Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)

The construction of a brand new yacht would come at a cost, however. It's predicted the bill would ring up at a whopping £190 million, a price that might sound ludicrous for one memorial. Some proponents of the idea have responded to these concerns by suggesting the boat would be used for service rather than leisure, just like its predecessor. 

“Britannia was built to be a hospital ship as well as a royal yacht. Building a vast pleasure cruiser is not something that anyone is going to support,” said one Cabinet minister. “But 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.”

Not everyone shares this sentiment, however. The proposal was met with criticism from several members of the public, who believe the funding of the project cannot be justified during this economically fragile time. One parent took to Twitter to voice his opposition, lambasting the idea of spending £190 million on a boat when his daughter’s disability payment is a mere £67 a week. 

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Labour Councillor Freddie Bailey also slammed the proposal, pointing out the apparent hypocrisy of funding a yacht when so many vulnerable people are suffering. 

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The government has yet to approve any plans for the memorial.