Hats off to Penny Mordaunt, it’s time for Charles to be the Brexit King, by Frank Young

Hats off to Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt for succeeding where the government has failed in launching not one but three ‘national flagship’ yachts. These vessels will now be commissioned without a penny of taxpayer’s cash to represent His Majesty’s Government overseas. Previous attempts to commission a new “royal yacht” have been torpedoed by ministers fearful of the costs involved in building a new vessel. The ‘doomsters’ should be embarrassed by what has been achieved by one determined MP.

The Portsmouth North MP has taken it upon herself to do what the government should have done many years ago, announcing three new vessels in time the first anniversary of His Majesty’s ascension. The ships announced by Penny Mordaunt, still a serving member of the government, would be capable of undertaking tasks from disaster relief, ocean research, to environment protection, to “fly the flag” for the UK. That’s the spirit! The former Royal Navy reservist has claimed the ships won’t simply replicate the old Royal Britannia yacht, often used a private holiday home by the Late Queen and her husband. The first anniversary of the new Carolean era is a fitting moment to reflect on why these ships are needed and the opportunity it offers to the Royal family to represent British interests abroad.

When Boris Johnson announced plans for a new national flagship he had every intention of building something to that would be an asset to our efforts to win global investment. We badly need to up our game when it comes to winning huge global investment deals but luckily we have an ace card to play – our Royal family.

British Royals should forget foreign trips to parts of the world where our chequered history brings controversy or increasingly vocal demands for ‘reparations’. We don’t need to stoke resentment and republicanism by sending our top name Royals into politically choppy waters when they could be earning their keep for Great Britain PLC. Winning trade and investment should be the focus of the new Carolean age and a magnificent new “royal yacht” can help our royals do it.

A new national flagship with the ability to entertain business titans and heads of state is just what a buccaneering post Brexit Britain needs. Any money spent building such a vessel should have been seen as a down payment on future business deals won. That successive British governments couldn’t see this shows how short on ambition we have become, the private sector it seems understands this better than the state.

Alongside a new role for the monarchy in promoting global trade and investment the new national flagship should allow the British royal family to host important trading partners and cash grabbing functions anywhere in the world. Where there is a deal to be done that can bring jobs and cash to Britain we should be making better use of our Royals and they should be more willing to do their bit. Charles needs to take advantage of our new free trading status and become the Brexit King.

It is becoming painfully obvious that the days of Royal tours, and shaking hands with grateful foreigners is coming to an abrupt end. Recent tours have been a disaster, something not lost on Palace courtiers who are now rethinking the role of British Royals overseas. The new vessels announced by the Portsmouth North MP gives the King a chance to get out to sea and raise money for Britain. Too many Royals forget their fiduciary responsibilities to the country preferring instead to campaign on topical social issues. The Royal family should be part of a global cash grabbing policy of His Majesty’s government.

A year into his reign Charles III can be satisfied he has steadied the ship, there have been no major mishaps and polls show support for the monarchy remains strong. Younger voters are apparently the most hostile towards the monarchy, a newly defined role that very clearly brings money to Britain could help provide a clearer purpose for our royals and win back young minds. The King is apparently annoyed at suggestions he might be seen as a caretaker King. Helping Britain’s economy to boom once again could be his legacy as King.

There are royal palaces going spare that could be used to entertain global business chiefs, but a ship built to impress even the most decadent of foreign investors allows the King to go directly to countries where investment can be won.

There is nothing grubby about making money and we shouldn’t be afraid of using every bit of influence we have to do so, the Royals are our strategic advantage and should be used to push British trading interests, rather than embark on questionable diplomatic voyages to former colonies. This will inevitably mean going to countries that are growing rapidly alongside more established trading partners. One subtle advantage of doing deals and wooing investors on a ship is that is means avoiding setting foot in countries with dubious human rights records. We can separate the business from the political chatter that goes alongside a visit to a foreign country with very different values to our own.

The new vessels show the sort of post Brexit spirit we expected when we voted to leave the EU. We should be grateful that in Penny Mordaunt that spirit is alive and well, it is time for the Royal Family to show the same gusto for Global Britain.

Frank Young

Frank Young works for a leading Westminster think tank and is writing in a personal capacity