Two Billionaire Brothers Owned This Classic Floating Palace for Three Decades

It's thirty years old and worth more than $20 million - meet Lady Beatrice, the exquisite and secretive classic yacht that has remained under the original ownership for all of its life until now.
Lady Beatrice was custom-built for the Barclay Brothers who owned it for three decades 19 photos
Photo: Cecil Wright
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It's truly remarkable that a superyacht like Lady Beatrice was able to remain secretive for so many years. This was possible only because its famous owners were equally discrete. The famous Barclay Brothers stayed away from the limelight throughout most of their lives despite having built one of the most impressive business empires in the UK.

Sir David Rowat Barclay and Sir Frederick Hugh Barclay are mostly known for their connection to The Daily Telegraph. The twin brothers own the Telegraph Media Group, but their empire extends far beyond that, including luxury investments such as the London Ritz Hotel.

The Barclay Brothers are reportedly the ones who commissioned Feadship, one of the greatest superyacht builders of all time, to bring Lady Beatrice to life. The majestic pleasure craft was delivered in 1993 and reportedly named after the owners' mother. Initially known as Project 770, Lady Beatrice was one of the largest luxury yachts at the time, boasting 60 meters (197 feet).

Lady Beatrice
Photo: Cecil Wright
Apart from its impressive dimensions, Lady Beatrice featured stunningly elegant interiors that turned into the floating version of a French palace. They were the creation of another legendary name in the superyacht industry, Jon Bannenberg. The Australian-English designer is known for revolutionizing yacht design, and his legacy carries on with Bannenberg & Rowell Design.

For nearly three decades, this classic Feadship was one of the few luxury yachts to enjoy steady ownership and exclusive private use away from prying eyes. All that came to an end last year when a bitter divorce battle put the mysterious yacht into the spotlight, also revealing personal details about its owners.

David Barclay had passed away a year prior, and Frederick Barclay was left to fight over the family's pleasure craft during a high-figure divorce. His ex-wife revealed in court that the two brothers had serious arguments onboard the superyacht. Most importantly, she accused Frederick Barclay of not paying the divorce settlement, which allegedly forced the billionaire to put his yacht on the market.

This is how the 1993 Lady Beatrice ended up being up for grabs for the first time since its launch. And, despite the multitude of classic Feadships out there, this 197-footer is undoubtedly one of the most attractive offers on the pre-loved yacht market.

Lady Beatrice
Photo: Cecil Wright
One of the advantages of an exclusive three-decade ownership is that Lady Beatrice's classic beauty wasn't spoiled. Although they made sure to keep it in excellent shape throughout the years, its famous owners didn't feel the need to reinvent it or refresh its looks. Lady Beatrice remained a classic yacht through and through.

The traditional silhouette with a classic canoe stern is the work of the renowned De Voogt Naval Architects. A generous 970 GT volume allowed grandiose accommodation – two equally stunning master bedrooms are part of the impressive eight-cabin layout that can welcome up to 16 guests.

A large 17-member crew provides an ultra-luxurious 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio. Apart from its timeless charm, this type of hull is known for optimal hydrodynamic efficiency, like all the De Voogt masterpieces.

Stepping on board Lady Beatrice must feel like entering a different world altogether, one where kings and queens of a bygone era would feel right at home. Pillars adorned with gold, ornate lamps, massive curtains, and baroque furniture are some of the main elements that turn Lady Beatrice into a palace.

Classic works of art are carefully added throughout, creating the impression of a luxurious art gallery. The main salon is absolutely fabulous, flaunting a unique painted ceiling. The classic wooden table is massive, able to welcome up to ten guests. The dark tones of the furniture highlight the mint-green walls, rich-colored textiles, and golden accents everywhere.

Lady Beatrice
Photo: Cecil Wright
Lady Beatrice's style is unapologetically opulent, far from the cold minimalism of most contemporary superyachts. Each of the two master bedrooms (clearly configured for the original twin owners) is luxuriously fitted with an en-suite marble bathroom, a walk-in wardrobe, and a separate study. Four twin cabins and two doubles are all located on the lower deck, turning the main deck into a private sanctuary for the owners.

The classic yacht also boasts a second salon on the upper deck. As for al-fresco dining, there are multiple options available on the main and lower deck. Like any respectable superyacht, Lady Beatrice comes with a lavish swimming pool surrounded by cozy sun loungers.

This 1993 Feadship claims to be in top shape even after all these years, which includes the twin Caterpillar engines that propel it at more than 16 knots (29.6 kph).

Lady Beatrice
Photo: Cecil Wright
Those who appreciate classic masterpieces will surely find Lady Beatrice supremely tempting despite the price tag. The Barclay Brothers' superyacht is asking for €22 million ($23.2 million), and it probably won't have to wait too long. By next year, we might see Lady Beatrice as one of the most sumptuous entries on the luxury charter market.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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