Prince leads service to mark giant new tanker in Portsmouth

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ROYALTY will be visiting Portsmouth on Monday to mark the dedication of a new naval support vessel.

Prince Edward will be the guest of honour at the ceremony celebrating RFA Tidespring, inside the naval base.

The tanker – which will one day refuel the two new Queen Elizabeth-class supercarriers – will be formally dedicated into the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Weighing in at 39,000 tonnes, the new tanker class is larger and more advanced than her ageing predecessor.

She is 201m long – which is as long as three jumbo jets – and is capable of travelling up to 8,000 nautical miles.

She first arrived in Portsmouth last week.

One of four Tide-class vessels, Tidespring has a double-lined hull and is able to accommodate a Chinook helicopter on her deck.

Based in Falmouth, she will be manned by 109 civilian sailors who will travel around the globe in support of HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex will attend the parade in his role as Commodore-in-Chief of the RFA.