BRITAIN’S top sailor has said the naming of the nation’s new aircraft carrier symbolised the UK’s intent to ‘fulfil’ ambitions of a naval ‘renaissance’.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones made the rousing statement during the official naming of HMS Prince of Wales, the navy’s second supercarrier.
The First Sea Lord said the milestone event was a pivotal moment for the nation and the Senior Service.
Speaking at the service in Rosyth – which was attended by the Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cambridge – he said: ‘Alone, either one of these vessels would be a formidable expression of military might.
‘But together, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales send a powerful message to friend and foe alike.
‘We may live in uncertain times, but the United Kingdom has lost none of its famous resolve.
‘We will protect our interests, we will support our allies, and we will shoulder our responsibilities, wherever in the world they are at stake.’
The 65,000-tonne leviathan is being built in Rosyth and is due to arrive in Portsmouth in 2019.
The ship’s construction work was halted for the ceremony, a naval tradition dating back hundreds of years.
The official naming was carried out by the Duchess of Cornwall, the ship’s sponsor, who smashed a bottle of whisky against the warship.
Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, looked on as Camilla carried out the honours.
After a short speech Camilla declared: ‘I name this ship Prince of Wales. May God bless her and all who sail in her.’
She pressed a button to trigger the smashing of a bottle of Laphroaig whisky against the ship’s hull.
The royal couple attended the event along with defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, trade secretary Liam Fox and Scottish economy secretary Keith Brown.
Also watching were Portsmouth politicians and Gosport veteran Chris Peacey – who served on the previous HMS Prince of Wales that was sunk in the Second World War.
Sir Michael said the naming ceremony was ‘yet another landmark’ in an ‘incredibly busy year’ for the navy.
The Duchess added both of the new supercarriers represented an ‘extraordinary achievement’ and a ‘new era’ in Britain’s naval history.
The ship will be the eighth in the Royal Navy to bear the name HMS Prince of Wales, honouring Britain’s history as a seafaring nation from the Sixth Rate gun ship in 1693 to the King George V-class battleship that fought in 1941.
Prince of Wales is 280m long and cost £3.1bn. She has 17 decks and is made up of 17m parts.