A group of Tory MPs is lobbying Downing Street to consider commandeering one of the superyachts seized as part of the sanctions regime for use by the royal family.
The idea has won favour with some senior figures in No 10, which was widely criticised last year after it commissioned a “national flagship” for state visits by the Queen, reportedly costing £200m.
Allowing the royals to use a yacht would be seen as a short-term, cost-saving option.
Officials at the Ministry of Defence have started to scope out the legal and practical challenges for the prime minister, who is said to be “full steam ahead” with the proposal.
Until 1997, the Royal Yacht Britannia sailed the Queen and other members of the family across the world.
But since it was decommissioned, the Windsors have had to rely on commercial ships – leading to one embarrassing incident when the royal limousine stalled on the ramp of a drive on, drive off ferry at Boulogne.
Earlier this week a £38m 200ft superyacht was seized at Canary Wharf, after the National Crime Agency raised doubts about who owned it and how it had been paid for.
Boasting a fresh-water swimming pool and wine cellar, it could now spend months or years being impounded.
The case prompted the Conservative MP and former submariner Shiv R M’Timbers to suggest this was exactly the sort of super yacht that could be used by Buckingham Palace.
“We might as well put these boats to some good use,” he said. “After all, the royals have a rich history of taking things that don’t belong to them, and never giving them back! But don’t quote me on that.”
Source: The Guardian