The Queen has posed for a striking photo with the crew of HMS Lancaster in Portsmouth.
This picture by naval photographer LA(Phot) Stephen Johncock shows the Queen on the bow with the frigate’s entire crew behind her.
Meeting the Queen was the best way to thank families for their support to those on board Her Majesty’s frigate, the commanding officer of HMS Lancaster has said.
And for everyone who met her yesterday, it was a day they will remember for the rest of their lives.
The Queen paid a visit to the Type 23 Frigate, of which she is a sponsor and therefore also known as The Duke of Lancaster. The ship is also affectionately nicknamed the ‘Queen’s Frigate’.
Wearing a sky blue Karl Ludwig dress with a white Angela Kelly hat, she arrived in the city on a scheduled train.
And as she stepped out of her car, everyone fell silent.
Commander Peter Laughton, the ship’s commanding officer said it was a very proud moment for all associated with HMS Lancaster.
He said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that she was able to visit us.
‘The key thing is that we can tell her what we’ve been up to.
‘My sailors, all 200 of them, can impart that message and in particular we’ve got the families as well.
‘It’s a great way of saying thank you to those families for their unwavering support to us, particularly when we are deployed for seven months at a time.’
Hundreds of people gathered inside a marquee to meet the Queen, who spent time talking to the sailors and their families.
Cdr Laughton added it’s vital that the Queen regularly visits the ship.
‘It’s hugely important,’ he said. ‘She launched the ship in May 1990 and has taken a really keen interest in her ship ever since.
‘So this is a really great opportunity for the ship’s company themselves to tell her what they have been up to both when we were deployed last year, more recently and into the future as well.
‘It’s hugely exciting. It’s the greatest honour I think you could bestow on any commanding officer.
‘Firstly to be the captain of this great frigate and secondly to have Her Majesty on board as well is the opportunity of a lifetime.
‘There was a real sense of anticipation and excitement.
‘I addressed them all this morning and I said “Be proud, be very proud, engage and enjoy” because this is a fine moment for them.’
LET(WE) Stuart Lawson, pictured left, spoke of his honour at having the opportunity to speak to the Queen.
The 26-year-old said: ‘It was a bit nervy to start with. As she was getting closer and closer there were a few sweaty palms.
‘But when the adrenaline kicked in everyone enjoyed themselves. It was nice to speak to her.
‘She was very polite and easy to talk to. She was very interested in what we had to say. It was a pleasure.
‘We are the Queen’s frigate. Everyone knows that as soon as you step on board. I was proud to be on board.’