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Flagship day for Navy as Queen christens its biggest ever vessel

By Catriona Webster

The largest warship ever built in the UK heralds a "new dawn" for the delivery of the nation's security, the First Sea Lord has said as it was formally named by the Queen.

The 65,000-tonne Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was christened during an event at the Rosyth Dockyard in Fife, where the ship was assembled and fitted out.

Prime Minister David Cameron, First Minister Alex Salmond, Labour leader Ed Miliband and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas were among those who attended the ceremony.

The Queen, who was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, oversaw the traditional naming ceremony by pressing a button to release a bottle of Islay malt whisky suspended at the front of the ship to smash on to the hull.

About 3,500 people involved in the design and construction of the carrier watched the celebrations, alongside dignitaries and politicians.

Those attending also included Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, Chancellor George Osborne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, as well as former prime minister and Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Labour MP Gordon Brown.

The RAF's Red Arrows performed a fly-past during the event, painting the sky over the Forth red, white and blue.

The fly-past was followed by a procession of three generations of Royal Navy aircraft, including a historic 1950s de Havilland Sea Vixen fighter - the last and only flying aircraft of its kind in the world.

Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: "The naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth heralds a new dawn, not only for the Royal Navy but for the delivery of our nation's security. Her journey ahead will be global, strategic and one of inter-service and international partnership."

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