HMS Queen Elizabeth sailors welcomed into 'Neptune's kingdom': Here's what the Royal Navy tradition is and what it means

HMS Queen Elizabeth has ‘crossed the line’.

By Matthew Mohan-Hickson
Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 12:13 pm

But don’t worry, the Royal Navy’s fleet flagship is not in any sort of trouble.

The line that was crossed by the Queen Elizabeth-class carrier was the equator.

It means that the 65,000 tonne warship has now operated in both the northern and southern hemisphere.

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In grand Navy tradition a ceremony took place onboard the carrier to mark the crossing of the equator.

Nearly 1,000 of the ship’s company were ‘welcomed in Neptune’s kingdom’.

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s official twitter account shared pictures from the ceremony, which included costumes and dunking in a pool.

HMS Queen Elizabeth pictured with both US and UK F-35 stealth jets embarked on board. Photo: Royal Navy

The account tweeted: ‘We ‘crossed the line’! In true Naval tradition, nearly 1000 sailors were welcomed into Neptune’s Kingdom

‘This was the first time the ceremony has taken place onboard HMS QNLZ

‘HMS QNLZ has now operated in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.’

But what is the history of this ceremony?

Here’s what you need to know:

How long has the line-crossing ceremony taken place?

There are references to the ceremony dating back as far as the voyages of Captain James Cook in the 18th century.

As part of the tradition sailors have to pay tribute to Neptune, who was the Roman god of the sea.

It involves sailors being dunked in water.

Is it only a Royal Navy tradition?

No the crossing of the line ceremony is one undertaken by navies across the world – including the US Navy, Canadian and Australian navies.

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