WITH whisky on her bow and the Union Jack flying freely, HMS Queen Elizabeth was launched with passion by our Queen.
Senior naval officers have hailed the launch of the mammoth warship as the start of a new era for the Royal Navy.
And the Queen herself spoke from the heart as she delivered a speech to the crowds on the docks.
Before the smashing of a bottle of malt whisky against the ship’s hull, the Queen said: ‘Like her illustrious predecessor, this Queen Elizabeth is innovative and first class.
‘She marks a new phase in our naval history, being the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy.
‘Lord Mountbatten told my father on becoming King there is no more fitting preparation to be King than to have been trained in the Royal Navy.
‘My own personal associations, especially as the proud sponsor of six other warships and submarines, remind me that reputation for excellence continues to this day.
‘In sponsoring this new aircraft carrier, I believe that Queen Elizabeth, as flagship for the Royal Navy, will be a source of inspiration and pride for us all.’
The ship, the largest ever built for the navy, was partly built in Portsmouth and will be based in the city from 2017.
Dignitaries including prime minister David Cameron and Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond were joined by representatives from allies including the United States and France.
Shipbuilders and their families also stood with pride at the event along with the ship’s companies of the new carrier and HMS Illustrious.
The Queen added: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh joins me in congratulating all those involved in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance on this magnificent achievement and wishing her first ship’s company well in the time ahead.
‘Wherever the ship may serve, whatever tasks they may ask of her, let all those who serve in her know that on this day she was blessed with the prayers of us all for her success and her safe return to calm waters.
‘I name this ship Queen Elizabeth. May God bless her and all who sail in her.’