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Queen Offered to Help Keep Government Afloat

January 01, 2002|Associated Press

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II offered to give up the royal yacht Britannia 30 years ago to help the British government during economic difficulties, according to official papers released Monday.

Files given to the Public Record Office show the offer was turned down by Harold Wilson's Labor government in the late 1960s. It was then kept secret for fear of a public backlash at a time of deeply unpopular public spending cuts.

"The queen hopes that you and the secretary of state for defense may feel free to consider the future of the royal yacht in connection with any discussions which you may be undertaking about the armed services," Elizabeth's private secretary, Sir Michael Adeane, wrote in 1968.

Britannia sailed her last voyage in 1997.

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