Prince Philip’s boat to go under the hammer at Bonhams auction

A rather special 1956 Albatross MkIII Super Sport runabout is up for auction this weekend, having previously belonged to HRH the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

She may well have the humble lines of a bygone era, but provenance doesn’t come much richer, at least according to presiding auctioneer Bonhams.

The only boat lot in the Goodwood Members’ Meeting auction, this classic runabout’s first owner was HRH the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and in her heyday spent more than 10 years as his personal tender aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.

She was the second of two Albatrosses owned by the late Duke, who took delivery of her following the return of his first MkI to the factory for servicing.

Later she moved to the British sovereign’s Balmoral Estate in Scotland, where, rumour has it, she was also driven by the late Princess Diana. She was finally decommissioned there in 1987 and happily remains in unrestored condition.

Beken of Cowes famously snapped her being driven by the Duke with a young Prince Charles at his side. Princess Charles chose the image for the thank you card he used to reply to messages of sympathy following his father’s passing last year.

Recommended videos for you

Article continues below…

Bonhams estimated that she would realise between £20,000-£40,000, which is probably somewhere between four and eight times more than one would be without royal patronage and glamour.

Designed by aircraft engineer Archie Pearce and built by his St Olaves, Great Yarmouth-based Albatross Marine, this all-aluminium pop-riveted model had a stepless hull and was propelled by single screw hooked up to an 1,172cc Ford 100E engine, the same side-valve block used in the Ford Anglia of the day.

With a top speed of around 34mph, they were popular for waterskiing and for racing. In all 607 Albatrosses of various iteration were built.

The auction of Prince Philip’s boat starts at 13:00 (BST) on 10 April.

11/04 update: Bonhams have announced that Prince Philip’s boat was sold at auction yesterday for £69,000 (inc. premium).