The sad reason King Charles's 'bittersweet' recent engagement may have struck a nerve

King Charles's 'bittersweet' recent engagement may have been a challenge for the monarch as he returns to the Royal Yacht Britannia

King Charles's 'bittersweet' recent engagement
(Image credit: Photo by Jane Barlow-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

King Charles's 'bittersweet' recent engagement may have been a challenge for the monarch as he visited Scotland for Holyrood Week.

On Monday, the King visited HMY Britannia, a former royal vessel that was used by the Royal Family for tours to Commonwealth countries and as a royal residence at sea. The ship was used by Queen Elizabeth II, other members of the Royal Family, and many dignitaries for 696 foreign visits and 272 visits in British waters. 

Despite playing a fundamental role in the lives of the royals, the ship was decommissioned in 1997 after many decades of service. This decision made by the government at the time was reportedly very difficult for the Queen and other family members who had many cherished memories on this ship. The late Queen was even once quoted as saying, "Britannia is the one place where I can truly relax."

The ship was so pivotal to the royals that the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht Brittania, was a key plotline in The Crown season 5, and looked into the Royal Family's sadness when it came to retiring this yacht and turning it into a tourist attraction.

Because of the Royal Family's long history with this ship, this engagement to visit the Brittania was likely bittersweet for the King as he remembered the treasured memories he made with his family aboard this ship. 

Fans were quick to notice the significance of this engagement and many shared sympathy with the King. "Some wonderful memories I would think. Yet, bittersweet 💝," commented one fan on a social media post from the Royal Family about the engagement. "Must’ve been so nostalgic and bittersweet for his majesty," said another. "It must've brought back some wonderful memories for His Majesty!" said yet another.

The ship was ultimately decommissioned because of running costs. Reportedly, the Britannia cost about £11million ($14million) to run each year. The decision was made by the 1994 Conservative government under John Major that refitting the ship for use would be too expensive and instead, the boat would be retired. Under the Labour Government of 1997, the boat was then officially decommissioned. 

"Britannia’s decommissioning still hurts 💔" said one royal fan on a recent post by the Royal Family. "It was sad to see the Queen have to give up this yacht, I think it was the one place she could just be herself with her family," said another."Still not gotten over its decommissioning. It meant so much to our much loved late Queen and Prince Philip," they said.

The ship was also special to the King as the place where he spent his honeymoon with Princess Diana in 1981. The pair toured the Mediterranean and reportedly King Charles brought a double bed onto the yacht during their trip, as all of the bedrooms had single beds - well it was their honeymoon!

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.