News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    Royal Yacht Britannia 220.jpeg
    12 April 2013
    Royal Mail marks anniversary of Royal Yacht Britannia with commemorative sheet of stamps
  • A new commemorative sheet of Royal Mail stamps marks 60th Anniversary of HMY Britannia
  • 10 definitive sized Union Flag stamps celebrate the Royal Yacht’s launch by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 16 April 1953 each with labels featuring iconic images of the yacht
  • The Royal Yacht carried The Queen and other dignitaries over 1,087,623 nautical miles between 1954 and 1997
  • Now permanently moored in Edinburgh, the ship attracts approximately 300,000 visitors every year
  • The commemorative sheet will be available from, in main Post Offices and by phone on 08457 641 641

 Royal Mail is releasing a special commemorative sheet of stamps to mark the 60th Anniversary of the launch of HMY Britannia. The sheet of stamps will be issued on 16 April 2013, 60 years to the day since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II launched the Royal Yacht from its Clydebank shipyard.

It will feature ten 1st Class stamps featuring the Union Flag alongside striking images of the yacht from throughout its history. The images include the launch of the yacht itself, the Royal Apartments inside Britannia, The Queen’s 1977 visit to Fiji, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in the Engine Room to celebrate the one-millionth mile travelled by the vessel and Britannia’s final overseas royal engagement in Hong Kong in 1997 alongside other iconic shots.

Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former Royal Yacht of Queen Elizabeth II and was the second Royal Yacht to bear the name. The ship was built by John Brown & Co. Ltd in Clydebank and the design was overseen by The Queen and Prince Philip.

The ship was designed with three masts, a 133-foot (41 m) foremast, a 139-foot (42 m) mainmast, and a 119-foot (36 m) mizzenmast. The top 20 feet (6.1 m) of the foremast and mainmast were hinged, to allow the ship to pass under bridges. It also had the capability to be converted into a hospital ship in time of war, although this function was never used.

Commissioned for first duty at sea on 11 January 1954 and decommissioned on 11 December 1997, the Royal Yacht conveyed The Queen, members of the Royal Family, and various dignitaries on 223 visits to Commonwealth countries. In this time, HMY Britannia steamed 1,087,623 nautical miles (2,014,278 km).

In 1997 the Royal Yacht carried the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten and The Prince of Wales away after its handover to China.

HMY Britannia is now a permanently moored visitor attraction in Edinburgh, and attracts approximately 300,000 visitors every year.

The HMY Britannia Commemorative Sheet comes in a fully illustrated presentation folder that tells the story of the yacht.

Andrew Hammond, Royal Mail Stamps spokesperson, said: “HMY Britannia has played a hugely important part in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and it’s only fitting that its anniversary should be marked with a set of Royal Mail commemorative stamps that will travel the world in the same way that the yacht did for so many years.”

For further information contact:
Natasha Ayivor
Royal Mail Press Office
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HQ
Tel: 07436 280002


1. Among HMY Britannia’s 11 Commanding Officers are nine Admirals

2. In 1986 HMY Britannia rescued more than 1,000 refugees fleeing the war in Yemen

3. In no place does HMY Britannia have her name displayed on the vessel itself

4. HMY Britannia had a secondary role where she could be converted into a hospital ship in times of war

5. The yacht is listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection

6. HMY Britannia is one of the UK’s top evening events venues

7. HMY Britannia had two geared steam turbines, developing a total of 12,000 shaft horse power

8. In her day, HMY Britannia could travel at a speed of 22.5 knots maximum 21 knots continuous

9. HMY Britannia was designed by Sir Victor Shepheard, Director of Naval Construction for the Royal Navy; and John Brown & Co. Ltd

10. On successful completion, she was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 11 January 1954

The commemorative stamp sheet is for sale as a commemorative sheet only. Stamps and labels cannot be bought separately. The sheet costs £14.95. It is available in main Post Offices, online at and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB. It is also available from For almost 50 years Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated and celebrated events and anniversaries pertinent to UK heritage and life. Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gifters in the UK and millions worldwide. Her Majesty The Queen approves all UK stamp designs before they are printed. 

Generic Sheet Technical Details: HMY Britannia



Issue Date

16th April 2013

Number of stamps

10 x 1st Class Union Flag stamp based on an original design by Dick Davies, featuring an illustration by Anton Morris.

Pack and commemorative sheet design


Sheet Format


Stamp Format


Stamp Size

20mm x 24mm


Cartor Security Printing, Meaucé, France  

Print Process



Die – cut simulated


Bars as appropriate