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The Queen's Maritime History

11 September 2015

Queen Elizabeth II

In September 2015 we celebrated a signigicant milestone in British history as HM Queen Elizabeth II was announced our longest reigning monarch. The Queen has long held an important role in our maritime history, launching and blessing many cruise ships. In celebration of recent events we take a look back at some of her most memorable moments.

HM Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth was the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York and his wife, Elizabeth, Duchess of York.

During the Second World War, at the age of 16, Elizabeth made her first solo public appearance in 1943 on a visit to the Grenadier Guards.

Elizabeth married her husband Phillip in 1947 and gave birth to their first child, Prince Charles on 14th November 1948. Her second child, Princess Anne was born in 1950.

During 1951, King George VI's health declined and Elizabeth often stood in for him at public events. He passed away that year and Elizabeth became Queen, she and Prince Phillip moved into Buckingham Palace. On June 2nd 1953 the Queen’s coronation was held at Westminster Abbey.

Royal Yacht Britannia

The Queen’s connection with sailing goes back to 1953 when she embarked upon the Royal Yacht Britannia. Many of her tours were undertaken on Britannia and she became very fond of the ship. First used by the Queen when she embarked with the Duke of Edinburgh on May 1st, 1954 for the final stage of their Commonwealth Tour.

Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned in December 1997 having sailed more than a million miles on Royal and official duties.

Named the UK’s No 1 landmark by TripAdvisor, Royal Yacht Britannia is now a five-star visitor attraction berthed permanently at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is often used to hold prestigious evening events.

Fact: In 1990 Queen Elizabeth II had a burglar alarm fitted on Royal Yacht Britannia that played ‘Colonel Bogey’, ‘The Campdown Races’ and ‘La Cucaracha’.

Queen for a Queen

Queen Elizabeth II accepted her first Godmother role in 1967 when she christened Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2.

This ocean liner served as both a transatlantic liner and cruise ship from 1969 to 2008. Built in Clydebank, Scotland she was considered the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners until the construction of Queen Mary 2 was announced.

It was here Queen Elizabeth made her mark in the maritime world.

In 1995 she went on to name P&O Oriana and became Godmother of her first P&O Cruises ship.

Cunard Queen Mary 2

In 2004 the first major ocean liner was built and Queen Mary 2 became the flagship of Cunard Line. Named after the first Queen Mary completed in 1936, she is the only transatlantic ocean liner in service between Southampton and New York.

With so much royal history and such an iconic British name, everyone knew Queen Elizabeth II would be the perfect Godmother. At a prestigious ceremony in Southampton, Queen Elizabeth named the 1,132ft long vessel. Following traditional ship naming she ended with "I name this ship Queen Mary 2. May God bless her and all who sail in her". To a loud applause she then pressed the button and the champagne bottle smashed against the side of the ship.

After the naming, the Queen went onboard for a tour which included watching a film about the Queen Mary launch, as well as a presentation on the first Queen Elizabeth launch by the Queen Mother.

Cunard Queen Elizabeth

Cunard's newest ship Queen Elizabeth, debuted in October 2010, which saw Queen Elizabeth II take part in more Godmother duties.

The second largest ship to be constructed for Cunard, she is the third ship in the Cunard fleet alongside Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.

After the ship’s name was announced by Cunard in October 2007, speculation grew as to whether Queen Elizabeth II would be her Godmother and the country expressed their delight when the news they had been hoping for was announced.

On October 11th 2010 the Queen took to her duties of blessing the ship and officially naming her at a prestigious ceremony.

P&O Cruises Britannia

The naming of a ship plays a vital role in any ship's journey. The official naming duty is a role fit for only the finest of figures.

Ever since plans for Britannia were announced, everyone has been counting down to her arrival and gathering information. As the largest ship ever built for the British cruise market is set to feature a host of industry firsts, it made sense that there was only person fit to name this new masterpiece, Queen Elizabeth II.

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