Sudden death of UK royal barge designer

The UK architect behind the $1.5m royal barge which led Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee flotilla up the River Thames has been found dead at his home.

Police broke into Ed Burnett’s house in the town of Totnes, Devon, after worried friends and family had not seen or heard from him for several days.

The 43-year-old designed the Gloriana, the royal barge which was built for the marine parade along the Thames for the Queen’s celebrations in 2012.

Devon and Cornwall Police called the death “sudden”, but detectives said it is not being treated as suspicious.

Insp Andy Tomlinson said: “Following concerns from friends, who said he’d not been contactable for a few days, we made standard checks with the hospital to make sure that he wasn’t anywhere else.

‘We forced entry and found him passed away in his premises. There’s no indication of foul play.’

Damian Byrne, project manager for building Gloriana, paid tribute to Burnett, saying: “There are notable naval architects practising today who declare an understanding for classic shapes, but few have shown the understanding of the subtleties of form that deliver a classic timeless vessel.”