PRINCESS Anne rang the ship’s bell of HMS Hood in Portsmouth today - 75 years after the battlecruiser was sunk in one of the biggest naval tragedies of the Second World War.
Princess Anne visited the National Museum of the Royal Navy to unveil the newly-conserved bell, which was recovered from the Atlantic ocean bed last year.
It is 75 years since the sinking of the Portsmouth ship in which more than 1,400 men were killed.
The bell from sunken battlecruiser was hoisted from the bottom of the Denmark Strait, between Greenland and Iceland, by US philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft Paul G Allen.
The 18-inch high bell, which was cast for the previous battleship of the same name, has been restored to be displayed at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The sinking of the Hood on May 24 1941 by the German battleship Bismarck shocked a nation by then used to war.
Only three of its 1,418 crew survived the sinking.
Among those watching the service was 100-year-old Lloyd Adams, who served in HMS Hood in 1940.
Mr Adams, from Netley, said: ‘Seeing the bell is very important. It was a nice service.’
His son Simon added: ‘The whole morning has been a good commemoration for HMS Hood.’
Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, president of the HMS Hood Association, said: ‘The service was just right for those who died 75 years ago.
‘It was the right way to remember their sacrifices for us. The bell can act as a memorial to remember those people.’
Princess Anne, who is patron of the museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, also officially opened its Battle of Jutland exhibition.
The 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War marks the centenary of the First World War battle.