The Duchess of Cornwall has paid a visit to HMS Astute at a Scottish naval base to mark the 10th anniversary of the submarine’s commissioning.
Camilla, known as the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, praised the “remarkable achievements” of the crew and spoke fondly of the boat’s launch in 2010.
“As the very proud sponsor of HMS Astute, I am delighted to be with you today to mark the tenth anniversary of the commissioning ceremony,” she said.
“I remember so well the 27th August 2010, as we watched this magnificent boat enter into active service.
The Duchess of Rothesay today visited HM Naval Base Clyde and saw the Commanding Officer and the crew of HMS Astute.— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) September 10, 2020
The visit marks the 10th anniversary since the commissioning ceremony of HMS Astute. pic.twitter.com/3iFLHf8aLl
“On that day, I half-jokingly wondered if I would ever join you for a dive.
“While that has not yet proved possible, somewhat to my relief, I have taken an enormous interest in your work over the past decade.”
The duchess also visited HM Naval Base Clyde in 2014 to see HMS Astute as it returned from its first operational deployment.
Camilla met the boat’s commanding officer, Commander David Crosby, on Thursday before visiting the base’s giant shiplift facility, where the submarine is undergoing a period of planned maintenance.
Following the tour, the duchess addressed the ship’s company, saying that their service had rendered the country deeply in their debt and thanking them for their dedication and commitment.
She added that she was sorry that she was unable to shake crew members’ hands, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I should like to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said.
May you always return safely to harbourDuchess of Cornwall
“I am only sorry that today I am unable to shake each of you by the hand to express my gratitude, but sadly that will have to wait until the Covid restrictions have lifted.
“I am certain that, just as you have always done, you will continue to carry out your duties with the pride that comes of being at the forefront of our naval prowess.
“May you always return safely to harbour.”
Cdr Crosby said: “It is a great honour for me to show our lady sponsor her submarine and update Her Royal Highness on the recent challenges and successes of her crew and their families.
“Her Royal Highness, as our lady sponsor, has always paid close attention to our progress and regularly sends her gratitude to my crew, and as importantly, their families.
“To that end, it was a great honour to be granted this opportunity for my team to show their appreciation of her support.”