Royal yacht

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A royal yacht is a ship used by a monarch or a royal family. If the monarch is an emperor the proper term is imperial yacht. Most of them are financed by the government of the country of which the monarch is head. The royal yacht is most often crewed by personnel from the navy and used by the monarch and his/her family on both private and official travels.

Some royal yachts have been/are small vessels only used for short trips on rivers or in calm waters, but others have been/are large seaworthy ships.


Depending on how the term is defined royal yachts date back to the days of antiquity with royal barges on the Nile in ancient Egypt.

Later the Vikings produced royal vessels. They followed the pattern of longships although highly decorated and fitted with purple sails (purple sails remained standard for royal vessels the next 400 years).[1]

In England, Henry V sold off the royal yachts to clear the Crown's debts. The next royal vessels in England were built in the Tudor period with Henry VIII using a vessel in 1520 that was depicted as having cloth of gold sails.[2] James I had Disdain, a ship in miniature (she was later recorded as being able to carry about 30 tons), built for his son Prince Henry. Disdain was significant in that she allowed for pleasure cruising and as a result can be seen as an early move away from royal ships as warships.

The first ships to unquestionably qualify as royal yachts were those owned by Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland.[citation needed] The first was gift from the Dutch but later yachts were commissioned and built in England. This established a tradition of royal yachts in Britain that was later copied by other royal families of Europe. Through the 19th century royal yachts got larger as they became a symbol of national wealth. World War I brought this trend to an end and the royal families that survived found it harder to justify the cost with the result that there are only three royal yachts left in use in Europe.[when?][citation needed] For the most part royal yachts have been superseded by the use of warships in this role, as royal yachts are often seen as a hard-to-justify expenditure. In addition most monarchies with a railway system employ a special set of ceremonial royal carriages. Most monarchies are also granted access to government owned aircraft for transportation.

Yachts by country[edit]



  • Phantasie
  • Miramar



HDMY Dannebrog

The Danish royal family have had several royal yachts. Two of them have been named Dannebrog.


  • Mahroussa (also known as El Horria) (1866–1951) was built for Isma'il Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt. She passed the Suez Canal during its opening. Lengthened twice, she was converted from paddle steamer to screw propellers. She now serves as a school ship for the Egyptian Navy.


During the existence of the German Empire, the Kaiser used these imperial yachts:

The Kriegsmarine fleet tender Grille was built as a state yacht for Adolf Hitler.








King Hussein of Jordan was aboard his royal yacht (name not reported) in the Gulf of Aqaba when on 7 June 1981 it was overflown by eight low-flying Israeli F-16s en route to attack the Osirak reactor in Iraq during Operation Opera. One of the pilots described it as 'stunning white... incredible'.[17]


  • Princess Alice (1891 by Prince Albert I) 174 ft[18][19]
  • Deo Juvante II (1956–1958 by Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace) 147 ft[20]
  • Carostefal (1964 by Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace) 59 ft[21]
  • Stalca (1971–1972 by Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace) 82 ft[22]
  • Pacha III (1990–present by Princess Caroline)[23]





King Haakon VII received the royal yacht Norge as a gift from the people of Norway in 1947. The royal yacht is owned by the king but maintained and crewed by the Royal Norwegian Navy. Before this other naval ships had served as royal sea transport and the king used some smaller boats for short trips mostly on official occasions.


The MY Al Said operated by the Oman Royal Yacht Squadron

The Oman Royal Yacht Squadron operates the following major vessels from Muscat and Muttrah in Oman:

Name Length (m) Shipyard Year Description
Al Said 155[29] Lürssen, Germany 2007 Has a helipad, orchestra and swimming pool. It is berthed in Mutrah port most of the time
Fulk al Salamah[30] 165 Mariotti Yachts, Italy 2016 Replacement support vessel and secondary yacht.
Al Dhaferah[31] 136 Bremer Vulkan, Germany 1987 Retained as logistics and helicopter support ship.
Zinat al Bihaar[32] 61 Oman Royal Yacht Squadron[33] 1988 Luxury sailing yacht built in Oman with imported engine from Siemens
Al-Noores 33.5[34] K. Damen Netherlands 1982 Specialized tug boat for the other royal yachts

Ottoman Empire[edit]

The Imperial Ottoman Government used many yachts for its head of state.[35] These include:

  • Tesrifiye
  • İzzeddin
  • Sultaniye
  • Talia
  • Ertuğrul

The Republic of Turkey also has presidential yachts


  • Veloz (22,6 m): 1858
  • Sirius (22,5 m): 1876
  • Amélia I (35 m): 1888
  • Amélia II (45 m): 1897
  • Amélia III (55 m): 1898
  • Amélia IV (70 m): 1901

The Portuguese King Charles I used four successive royal yachts, all named Amélia, after his wife, Queen Amélie of Orleans. These yachts were, mainly, used by Charles I for his oceanographic missions. It was in the Amélia IV that King Manuel II and the Portuguese royal family left the country for the exile, after the republican revolution of 5 October 1910. In the republican regime the Amélia IV was renamed NRP 5 de Outubro and operated by the Portuguese Navy.



Standart in Sevastopol in 1909

Imperial yachts employed by the Tsar of Russia:

Saudi Arabia[edit]



United Arab Emirates[edit]

Dubai is the personal yacht of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. Completed in 2006, she is the third largest yacht currently in service[42] at 524 feet (160 m) long. She came to world media attention when she sailed out to welcome the retired ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth 2 to Dubai in November 2008.

Another personal yacht of the Sheikh is the 40-metre (130 ft) Alloya, built by Sanlorenzo in 2013.[43][44]

United Kingdom[edit]

William Frederick Mitchell (before 1881) HMY Victoria and Albert

The United Kingdom has had 83 royal yachts since the restoration of Charles II of England in 1660.[45] Charles II himself had 25 royal yachts,[46] while five were simultaneously in service in 1831.[47] Since the decommissioning of Britannia in 1997 the British monarchy no longer has a royal yacht.[48]

Other nations[edit]

The Principality of Monaco owned the princely yacht Deo Juvante II between 1956–1958. This Camper and Nicholsons yacht was a wedding gift from Aristotle Onassis to Prince Rainer and Grace Kelly and was used on their honeymoon. The yacht, now called M/Y Grace, is now owned and operated by Quasar Expeditions.

Yugoslavia had some royal yachts before World War II (most notably, one was a sister ship of Ilinden which sank in Lake Ohrid in 2009).

Zanzibar had only one naval ship in 1896, the royal yacht HHS Glasgow. It was sunk by the British during the shortest war in history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War.

Other nations that employ some form of yacht presently or in the past include China and Sarawak.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Madge 1997, p. 21.
  2. ^ Madge 1997, p. 25.
  3. ^ "La Clémentine". Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  4. ^ "Boten, het koninklijk yacht Alberta van koning Leopold II in de haven". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  5. ^ "ALBERTA". Ships Nostalgia. 27 May 2020. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  6. ^ "Falcao Uno". Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  7. ^ "Un clásico con alma 'Rolls Royce' | Baleares | Nauta 360". Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  8. ^ "Inside ALPA Yacht • Posillipo Technema • 2009 • Value $2 million • Owner King Albert of Belgium". SuperYachtFan. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  9. ^ "For sale: Royal yacht, one former owner, offers circa €2 million". Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Princess Alice arriving in Greece on board royal yacht Amphitrite". Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  12. ^ "Amphitrite (royal yacht)". Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  13. ^ Paul Forsythe Johnston (Winter 2002). "A Million Pounds of Sandalwood: The History of Cleopatra's Barge in Hawaii" (PDF). The American Neptune. Vol. 63, no. 1. pp. 5–45. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-03-11.
  14. ^ Cecilia Zizzola. "Dai panfili reali ai moderni megayacht di oggi". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
  15. ^ King, Ian. "HMS Emperor (1857) (1st) Iron Screw Yacht". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  16. ^ Sasakawa, Yohei. "企画展「世界のロイヤルヨット今昔物語」報告書". The Nippon Foundation Library.
  17. ^ Claire 2004, pp. 173–174.
  18. ^ "Alice Heine — the First American Princess of Monaco". HelloMonaco. 2019-06-18. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  19. ^ "Princesse Alice | Royal Yachts". Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  20. ^ Delahaye, Julie (2018-06-11). "You can now holiday on Grace Kelly's former yacht and it's pretty amazing". mirror. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  21. ^ "Monaco's yachting history in pictures". 24 September 2018. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  22. ^ "Stalca & Deo Juvante II, 2 yachts for the Princess Grace of Monaco". HelloMonaco. 2018-08-13. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  23. ^ FlexKit. "PACHA III". (in French). Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  24. ^ "De Valk verkoopt de Moonen 85 'Jumbo VI'". De Valk. 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  25. ^ "Koning Willem-Alexander telt €7 ton neer voor nieuwe speedboot". Quote Net. 2014-08-04. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  26. ^ "TrendingVandaag: koning koopt speeltje van 7 ton". 1Vandaag. 2014-08-04. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  27. ^ "Dutch King orders new 2-million euro yacht from Frisian boat builder | The Northern Times". 8 June 2020. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  28. ^ "Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander apologize for vacation photo". HOLA. 2020-08-24. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  29. ^ " – Top 100".
  30. ^ "Mariotti superyacht Fulk Al Salamah delivered". 29 July 2016.
  31. ^ "Global Wellbeing: Sultan Qaboos's extravaganza".
  32. ^ "Zinat al Bihaar – Oman Royal Yacht Squadron Sail Yacht". Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  33. ^ "Sailing Yacht – Zinat al Bihaar – Oman Royal Yacht Squadron – Completed Superyachts on Superyacht Times .com". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  34. ^ "Motor Yacht – Al-Noores – K. Damen – Completed Superyachts on Superyacht Times .com".
  35. ^ "U.S. Library of Congress Query".
  36. ^ "Royal yacht Ștefan cel Mare, the most elegant ship on the Danube". Rezistența (in Romanian). 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2023-10-26.
  37. ^ "Two kings, two mistresses and a luxury yacht". Royal Central. 2020-08-03. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  38. ^ By Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia on her maiden voyage from Brest to Ferrol, Spain and by Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia as a passenger on the Black Sea.
  39. ^ "Imperial Yacht Standart". Archived from the original on Oct 23, 2007. Retrieved Aug 3, 2022.
  40. ^ "Royal Yachts: The End Of The Spectacular Vessels Of Juan Carlos I". 26 June 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  41. ^ Burgen, Stephen (18 November 2013). "Spanish taxpayers pay price as king goes from have-yacht to have-not". the Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  42. ^ Matt Spector (6 August 2008) "World's Elite Make a Splash With Megayachts", ABC News
  43. ^ "The Sanlorenzo 40 Alloy in Dubai". 20 March 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  44. ^ "Sanlorenzo's Alloya superyacht in Dubai". 5 April 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  45. ^ "The Royal Residence". The Royal Yacht Britannia Edinburgh. Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  46. ^ "All at sea with Charles II". University of Southampton. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  47. ^ Madge 1997, p. 183.
  48. ^ "A Sombre Farewell". The Royal Yacht Britannia Edinburgh. Retrieved 29 October 2022.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]