Camilla ‘christens’ new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales
Work on the under-construction ship has been halted for the naval tradition which dates back thousands of years.
The Royal Navy’s second of a new generation of aircraft carriers has been formally named after the Prince of Wales at a special ceremony.
Work on the under-construction ship has been halted for the naval tradition which dates back thousands of years and combines a celebration with a solemn blessing.
The official naming was carried out by the Duchess of Cornwall, the ship’s sponsor, who smashed a bottle of whisky against HMS Prince of Wales at the ceremony in Rosyth Dockyard, Fife.
Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, looked on as Camilla carried out the honours to see the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier reach the latest landmark in the construction process.
After a short speech Camilla declared: “I name this ship Prince of Wales. May God bless her and all who sail in her.”
She pressed a button to trigger the smashing of a bottle of Laphroaig whisky against the ship’s hull.
The Islay single malt is believed to be one of Charles’ favourites.
In her speech, the Duchess said: “As Lady Sponsor, I take great pride in my own personal connections with the Royal Navy.
“For almost ten years now, I have been Commodore in Chief of the Royal Navy Medical Service and of the naval chaplaincy service.
“I can also boast six Admirals among my forebears, who fought with varying degrees of distinction for King and country throughout the 18th century.
“Naturally, however, my closest connection with our great Navy is through another Admiral, my husband, another Prince of Wales. So I already feel a particular affection for this ship.
“When she and her ship’s company are out on the high seas, please remember that I will be holding you all in my thoughts and prayers.
“I am certain that you will carry out whatever is asked of you with the pride that comes of being at the forefront of our Naval prowess. Wherever she is asked to serve her country, may she and her company return safely to harbour.”
Earlier, the Duchess told the crowds that seven shipyards across the country have worked together to design and build the carrier and its sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
“Not only do they represent an extraordinary achievement, but also a new era in our long Naval history,” Camilla said.
She wore a navy blue dress and coat designed by Fiona Clare for the occasion, along with a navy and white Philip Treacy hat and a Prince of Wales feathered brooch. Charles, Admiral of the Fleet, sported a Royal Navy uniform with medals.
Camilla told the hundreds of people gathered at the dockyard that the ship is the seventh in the Navy to bear the name HMS Prince of Wales, with the first being launched in 1765.
The “most distinguished” was a King George V class battleship, launched in 1939, which played a vital part in the Second World War.
It was sunk in the South China Sea in December 1941, with the loss of 327 lives. Three men who served on the battleship were present at Friday’s ceremony.