The Royal Yacht Britannia was launched on 16 April 1953. Thousands gathered at the John Brown & Co shipyard on the River Clyde to watch the launch of the ship designed to be the Queen’s floating residence. The Queen launched it with the words: “I name this ship Britannia. I wish success to her and all who sail in her”. Instead of the traditional champagne a bottle of Empire wine was smashed against the hull, as a symbol of austerity in post-war Britain.