Royal family pays tribute to Royal Navy veteran and NCP founder

MEMBERS of the royal family have gathered to pay tribute to a navy veteran who often gave them use of his Portsmouth-based yacht.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 7:44 pm
The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales arriving for a service of thanksgiving for the life and work of Sir Donald Gosling at Westminster Abbey in London. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Sir Donald Gosling, who served in the Royal Navy on board HMS Leander, died on September 16.

Today, the royal family and a handful of celebrities attended a memorial service at Westminster Abbey.

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Sir Donald Gosling stands beside a bust of himself which was unveiled by HRH the Princess Royal in June 2014 in recognition of the significant donation he made to the renovation of HMS Victory. Picture: Christopher Ison.

Sir Donald was a friend of the royal family through his association with the Royal Navy – he was made a Vice Admiral of the UK in 2012, and presented with a flag by the Queen during his installation ceremony in Windsor Castle.

He also founded the car park firm NCP, selling the firm for £801m, and gave more than £100m to charity through the Gosling Foundation.

Sir Donald also held fundraisers for the Portsmouth-based Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the White Ensign Association.

In 1994, he spearheaded an initiative to try to raise £60m for a new royal yacht after the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

He loaned his own luxury yacht Leander – named after the wartime cruiser he served on – to the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee tour in 2012.

The yacht was based in Portsmouth, though Sir Donald sold the vessel in 2016 and it was subsequently removed from the charter market.

Entertainer Jimmy Tarbuck, singer Dame Shirley Bassey and Riverdance creator Michael Flatley were also among the guests at the service.

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