What do you get for a monarch who has almost everything? Not, apparently, a new yacht, at least not one paid for with taxpayer funds.
That was the message Monday as a brief boomlet of support for the idea of providing Queen Elizabeth II with a new royal yacht to mark her Diamond Jubilee was quickly deflated by Prime Minister David Cameron.
It is estimated that a new yacht would cost at least 60 million pounds ($92 million).
Cameron’s spokesman Steve Field said it would not be appropriate for public funds to be spent on a new yacht during times of economic hardship. But he said the government would be supportive of private efforts to provide a new ship for the queen.
He acknowledged that ministers have been approached over plans to raise donations for a privately funded vessel and that the government “would react favorably” to a firm plan.
“There are a number of proposals out there for a privately financed yacht,” Field said.
Cameron has been contacted over the proposals and Britain’s government could potentially play a role in facilitating the construction of a new royal flagship — even though no taxpayer money would be used.
“I don’t think anyone is suggesting public money should be used for this,” Field told reporters Monday. “There is a difficult economic situation, there are scarce public resources, therefore we don’t think it would be an appropriate use of public money.”