London, Jan 16 (IANS) A British minister has said Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee must not be overshadowed by the London Olympics, and the government should gift her a yacht instead of organising “transient” events like proms and parties.
A royal yacht could cost more than 60 million pounds (around $92 million) according to estimates, prompting the opposition Labour party to accuse the Conservative minister of being out of touch, Sky News reported.
Education Secretary Michael Gove wrote a letter to the cabinet: “Events such as proms and the party at the palace organised for the diamond jubilee, and street parties, although excellent, are transient. It would be appropriate to do something that will mark the significance of this occasion with a fitting ceremony.”
He said University Minister David Willetts proposed a new boat for the royal family.
Gove criticised the current proposals for their lack of ambition, and wrote: “I feel strongly more should be done to achieve a longer lasting legacy.”
“My suggestion would be a gift from the nation to her majesty, thinking about David Willetts’s excellent suggestion of a royal yacht, and something tangible to commemorate this momentous occasion,” Gove wrote in the letter to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the minister responsible for the jubilee celebrations.
The letter was reportedly obtained by the Guardian daily.
There was a royal yacht — the Britannia — till 1997 when it was decommissioned, and is now a tourist attraction in Edinburgh. The vessel costs around 9 million pounds a year to maintain.