He told us about the Royal Yacht in some detail, with photos on the big screen to bring it all to life. While serving as Commander on the Britannia, he accompanied the Royal Family on state visits to Russia and South Africa. He gave us a wonderful flavour of the vessel, with the crew carrying out their duties with pride to enable the ship to be in A1 condition. In fact we found out that if any crew member returned from shore leave the worse for drink, he would immediately be dismissed from duty aboard the Britannia. Commander Dalgleish had to carry out that unpleasant task a number of times.
While on board, the Royal family could feel quite at home, away from the glare of publicity. They had chosen the décor in the Royal Apartments, making them homely rather than palatial. Her Majesty would combine family time with state business, welcoming on board guests such as Nelson Mandela. there would be much preparation before such a visit, for example the hull would be washed down with fresh water hoses before arriving at port so there would be no salt water smears to be seen. The brasses would be gleaming , the cutlery and crockery spotless after being handwashed.
Each August, the Queen and her family would holiday around the Scottish islands. She would choose a beach for a day out, which would be vetted beforehand, and the family would be taken there by smaller boat, complete with Prince Philip's barbecue set! Although this sort of holiday was a great expense, the Queen could feel relatively free and at peace. She probably misses this aspect of the Royal Yacht. HMY Britannia was laid off in 1997, but has been preserved as a tourist attraction - she is berthed at Leith near Edinburgh. A number of our members have visited it there and say it is well worth seeing.
Mr Dalgleish was introduced and thanked after questions, by Barbara Mace. A very enjoyable evening!