Currently on television is a programme about HMY Britannia – aka ‘The Queen’s Yacht’.
As this article shows, it was the politicians of ‘the day’ (circa 1997) who made the decision and who subsequently regretted it. Little thought was given, it appears, to the fact that that vessel was the reason for many of the trade deals that were ‘done’ (again, read the aforementioned link).
In this article, John Major is quoted as having said:
‘During the early Nineties, the monarchy went through a very difficult time,’ Sir John Major explains. ‘Ask yourself this question: in the midst of the recession, with the British people facing economic hardship, how popular would it have been to announce a £50 million spend on a new yacht for the personal use of the Royal Family? How would that have been portrayed by the media?’ In any case, he argues, Britannia, which cost £11 million a year to run, had been designed for a long-gone era of ocean-going royal tours — and air travel had rendered her semi-redundant. ‘Would I, personally, have wished to retain her?’ he wonders out loud. ‘Of course I would. But one has to be pragmatic about such things.’