HMS Queen Elizabeth a step closer to Portsmouth with naming

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TODAY Portsmouth will be a step closer to bringing HMS Queen Elizabeth home to the city as the Queen formally names the navy’s largest aircraft carrier.

Some of the highest levels of British and Scottish government past and present sat together as the naming of ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth kicked off.

HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth Dockyard. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth Dockyard. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

West Fife Schools Pipe Band started off the procession ahead of the Queen’s official naming of the new aircraft carrier.

The company of HMS Illustrious lined the decks as the procession passed the two ships, side by side.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt and minister of Portsmouth, Michael Fallon, joined members of the British and Scottish governments, including first minister Alex Salmond.
Celebrations are being held in Portsmouth as well as in Rosyth, Scotland, where she is currently being worked on.

The ceremony will include traditional pipe bands, the Royal Marines Band and a Red Arrows flypast.

The Queen will smash a bottle of whisky - not champagne - against the ship to help with the naming.

Meanwhile, in Portsmouth, pupils from secondary schools will join BAE Systems employees and their families, and other guests, to watch the ceremony streamed live to a screen at the Victory arena inside the Historic Dockyard.

The secondary school students attending the celebrations all took part in a challenge set by BAE Systems to build their own model aircraft carriers, and their models will be on display at the event.

Pupils from Charter Academy, King Richard School, Mayfield School, Miltoncross Academy and Priory School will attend the event.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will make her first arrival into Portsmouth in early 2017.

David Cameron to join the Queen for naming ceremony

The prime minister, secretary of state for defence and First Sea Lord will join the Queen today at the naming ceremony.

The event marks the first time in more than 15 years that the Queen has named a navy warship.

Later this morning, a bottle of malt whisky will be shattered against the hull of the new aircraft carrier.

Media and dignitaries are already gathering at the dockyard in Rosyth to witness the official naming ceremony.

Despite grey skies and an early whiff of rain, spirits are high among military members and spectators.

Former boy seaman Len Chivers, who is now 89 and lives in Portsmouth, travelled to Scotland to attend the naming ceremony.

He joined the Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth in 1941 - the ship was moved there from her home base of Portsmouth to escape the Blitz.

‘It was a marvellous job,’ he said. ‘And it should be the same with today’s ship.

‘Of course, they will be able to wear Queen Elizabeth on their cap tallies - were were not allowed to, just ‘HMS’.’