QUEEN VISIT: Excitement starts to build at naval base ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth Commissioning ceremony

Crowds are already starting to form at the dockyard and naval base Picture: Tom Cotterill
Crowds are already starting to form at the dockyard and naval base Picture: Tom Cotterill
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THOUSANDS of guests are already starting to pour into Portsmouth’s Naval Base to witness the commissioning of HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The 65,000-tonne behemoth is due to be formally handed over to the Royal Navy later today.

Among the guests due to arrive are the Queen, Princess Anne, prime minster Theresa May and defence secretary Gavin Williamson.

FOLLOW LIVE: The Queen visits Portsmouth for HMS Queen Elizabeth commissioning ceremony

Security around the naval base is tight, with dozens of officers patrolling in pairs around the streets.

Despite the lashing rain and strong wind, spirits remain high among the families of the ship’s company, who are queuing to get into Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

Inside the naval base, sailors in neatly-pressed uniforms are buzzing around with an organised intent.

Dozens of journalists have already been ferried into the expansive military base’s Ark Royal building – a sort of security control centre before they can enter the aircraft carrier.

Royal Marines, armed with their SA80 assault rifles, stand guard at the front of the building, eyeing everyone that comes through.

Inside the vessel’s hangar there is a hive of activity, with neat rows of blue seats lining the cavernous hall.

An enormous ceremonial cake, in the shape of HMS Queen Elizabeth, stands ready to be cut by the ship’s youngest crew member Callum Hui, 17, and the wife of the warship’s commanding officer, Captain Jerry Kyd.