The Royal Yacht Dannebrog

The Royal Yacht Dannebrog serves as the official and private residence for HM The Queen and other members of the Royal Family when they are on summer cruises in home waters or on official visits overseas.

The Royal Yacht Dannebrog was named by Queen Alexandrine in Copenhagen in 1931 and hoisted its flag for the first time on 26 May 1932. Dannebrog now serves as the official and private residence for The Queen and other members of the Royal Family when they are on summer cruises in home waters or on official visits overseas. The Royal Yacht also takes part in surveillance and sea rescue operations when at sea.

Dannebrog was built in 1931-1932 at the Naval Dockyard in Copenhagen as a replacement for the previous royal vessel, the paddle steamer Dannebrog from 1879. The ship’s hull is a riveted steel construction on transverse frames. The ship has a clipper bow and an elliptic stern. Seen from the outside, the Royal Yacht can be divided into two sections. In front of the funnel, there is space for crew accommodations, cargo and the engine. During visits to Danish and foreign ports, the covered quarterdeck is used for receptions.

The royal compartment includes The Queen’s study, a dining salon, a lounge, the bedrooms and more. The Queen has taken a personal interest in the interior design, the choice of furniture and general outfitting. The royal compartment contains furniture and fittings from the previous royal vessel from 1879.

The Royal Yacht Dannebrog in Klaksvík, The Faroe Islands. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen, Ritzau Scanpix ©
The Royal Yacht in the Arctic Ocean near Greenland. Photo: Hanne Juul, Billed-Bladet ©

The Royal Yacht Dannebrog is an independent command administered by the Chief of HM The Queen’s Naval Household, who is a member of the Royal Court.

Dannebrog’s full crew consists of 9 officers, 7 sergeants, 2 able seamen, 2nd class and 36-39 conscripts, who are all specially-selected from the Navy. 

Every year in January, a new team of conscripts begin at the Navy’s basic training school in Frederikshavn, where they undergo comprehensive naval training before they meet aboard the Royal Yacht Dannebrog in April.  It is the conscripts who handle all of the practical tasks on board, such as helmsman and lookout duty while sailing, guard service in port as well as cleaning and polishing of the considerable amounts of brass found on the ship, both outside and inside. Also, chefs, bakers and machinists are conscripts with relevant specialized training. After completing service and training aboard the Royal Yacht Dannebrog, a very large proportion of the conscripts continue their careers on the Navy’s other ships.

The officers are normally seconded for periods of two to four years, whereas the conscripts stay for just one summer.

The Queen and Prince Henrik with the crew aboard the Royal Yacht Dannebrog. Photo: Kongehuset ©
In 2018, The Royal Family paid an official visit to the Faroe Islands. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen, Ritzau Scanpix ©

Facts

Since the flag was first hoisted in 1932, the yacht has trained approximately 3,300 recruits and travelled more than 800,000 nautical miles. 

The yacht has visited most of the ports of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The yacht has also visited European ports, especially in France, and has been in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean seas as well as the American east coast.

Dimensions of the Royal Yacht:

  • Length (overall): 78.4 m
  • Width: 10.4 m
  • Draught: 3.9 m
  • Mast height: 23 m
  • Main engines: Two diesel engines, B&W Alpha Diesel, type 6T23L-KVO, 870 HP each

An overhaul was done in 1980-1981.

The Royal Yacht Dannebrog in Sønderborg, 2010. Photo: Kongehuset ©