They are the anchors of the fifth season of The Crown, the first episodes since the deaths of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth, and boy, was it a wave of nautical metaphors.
The first episode, "Queen Victoria Syndrome," is framed by creator Peter Morgan as an opportunity to upgrade the old royal yacht Britannia, which is in desperate need of repair. It's a fitting choice given Britain's history as an island nation, and it's an obvious metaphor for the season's central theme. Is the monarchy a relic of a bygone era that has outlived its usefulness? Above all, is it worthwhile to save?
He gives a short speech to a large and passionate crowd, where he marries in the hopes that this ship, like their new queen, "will withstand any storm." It is a powerful omen, both in the way the crowd erupts and in the future upheaval that season 5 will represent inside the House of Windsor. After all, the monarchy struggled to stay afloat in the 1990s as not one, not two, but three royal marriages fell apart, most notably that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
She remains steadfast and loyal, like a battle-hardened ship. When her doctor tells her to stand up, she refuses and agrees to lose half a stone by the end of the summer.