The MkIII Super Sports Runabout, which was one of just 607 produced between 1956 and 1959, belonged to His Royal Highness for more than 30 years and comes with quite a backstory.
This MKII model is the successor of the original Albatross Runabout introduced in prototype form at the beginning of 1951. The stylish three-seater, which was designated Albatross MkII when it went into production, attracted a distinguished clientele, including French actress Brigitte Bardot and Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. It was so appealing, in fact, that Prince Rainier of Monaco had six at one time, while Prince Philip himself owned two.
According to the auction house, Buckingham Palace returned the Duke’s first Albatross for service in ‘56 at which point the yard proposed that he receive the new Mark III model. Of course, the Duke, who was an avid sailor, accepted and the managing director of Albatross presented him with this particular vessel. Bonhams says Prince Philip kept the boat aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, which transported Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth on 968 state visits around the world for more than four decades.
In 1957, the classic cruiser was famously photographed at Cowes with the Duke at the helm and an eight-year-old Prince Charles in the passenger seat. Coincidently, this image was used some 64 years later in the “thank you” cards Prince Charles issued in response to the messages of sympathy received following his father’s death in 2021.
In 1967, the Duke’s dayboat was moved to the Balmoral Estate where it was reportedly driven by the late Princess Diana before it was eventually decommissioned years later in 1987. Today, the Albatross is presented in good condition with its original Ford 100E side-valve engine, a riveted aluminum planing hull and a leather interior. It also comes with copies of correspondence from both Albatross Marine and Buckingham Palace.
The historic vessel will go under the gavel on April 10 at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting in Chichester, England, and is expected to fetch between $26,000 and $39,000. Sounds like a royally good deal to us.
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