She is the jewel in the crown of the Royal Navy, ready to be placed when she comes home to Portsmouth in three years.
That’s the belief of the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, echoed by the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, yesterday.
During a speech at the ship’s official naming ceremony in Rosyth, the admiral, who is chief of naval staff, said the carrier was the symbol of a new dawn for the Royal Navy and for our national security.
He said: ‘Today is a special day. This is a big story of the sea; the story of British sea power.
‘We have a new chapter in the story of the Royal Navy. It is a new chapter of alliance and partnership.
‘This heralds a new dawn for the Royal Navy and for national security.
‘HMS Queen Elizabeth will support our national agendas. She will take her place at the centre of the fleet. The future of the navy will be global and will be strategic.
‘Your Majesty, we are especially proud that you have accepted the role of sponsor.
‘We in the Royal Navy, we who will prepare the ship, we know the responsibilities entrusted in us.’
The new era of the Royal Navy, spoken of by many of those involved in the new aircraft carrier’s ceremony yesterday, is underpinned by the idea of cooperation.
‘The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force will work together, with jets on her deck,’ said the admiral.
‘HMS Queen Elizabeth will be a national instrument of power.
‘That means she will be authoritative and a national icon. All the time that we keep the “great” in Great Britain we will keep the ‘royal’ in the Royal Navy.’
After the ceremony, defence secretary Philip Hammond told The News he echoed the admiral’s comments about a new chapter in the story of the British navy.
‘It is absolutely right that this is the jewel in the navy’s crown,’ he said.
‘It is a new era of our presence in the world. It is the people in the crowds watching today who should be proud of the work they have done. It is a flagship project for the whole of defence and for the navy.’
Asked about the project, which includes a second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, he described the government’s £6.2bn investment ‘good value for money’.
‘Having two aircraft carriers means we would always have one on standby,’ he said.
‘It will be a final decision that has to be made in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.’