Published 6 December 2017

Today both Her Majesty The Queen and The Princess Royal attended the Commissioning Ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth – the largest warship ever built by the Royal Navy.

Today Her Majesty The Queen and The Princess Royal attended the Commissioning Ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth – the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy.

During the visit to Portsmouth, The Queen toured the ship alongside the Captain, Commodore Jerry Kyd and met several members of the crew.

The aircraft carrier, which is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide, weighs 65,000 tons and can reach speeds over 25 knots. This enormous scale is even shown in the aircraft’s window wipers, which are 2.4 meters long each.

The Queen Elizabeth Class has been years in the making – with designs beginning in 1999, the vessel was built in nine different blocks in six shipyards across the UK. The design, build and development of the Queen Elizabeth Class has been a truly national effort, involving every region in the UK and over 10,000 people. The Royal Navy calculate that 28 million hours have been spent in the designing and building of the vessels.

The Queen Elizabeth Class can accommodate up to 1,600 personnel, which would include a full air crew, but also provides space for embarked personnel such as Royal Marines or refugees.

During Her Majesty’s visit today, The Queen accompanied by the Captain and Lieutenant Commander Anthony Leeson inspected the front rank of the Royal Guard as The Princess Royal inspects the rear rank.

After Her Majesty made an address, the cake was cut by the Captain's wife and the youngest member of the Ship's company – a Royal Navy tradition.

As the daughter, wife and mother of naval officers, I recognise the unique demands our nation asks of you; and I will always value my special link with HMS Queen Elizabeth, her ship’s company and their families.

Afterwards, three cheers for Her Majesty signalled the end of the formal Commissioning Ceremony and The Queen and The Princess Royal met guests in the Hangar Deck, including members of the Ship's Company and their families.The Queen Elizabeth Class will be used by all three branches of our Armed Forces and will be the largest and most powerful warships in UK history. Queen Elizabeth’s operational commitments will commence with the Carrier Strike Group in 2021.

Do you want to know more about The Queen Elizabeth class?
Read 100 facts about the vessel here