HMS Queen Elizabeth: The Queen sends message welcoming Royal Navy carrier back to Portsmouth - latest updates

HMS Queen Elizabeth has returned to Portsmouth for the first time in seven months.

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 5:56 pm

The Royal Navy’s fleet flagship finally sailed back into her home port after leaving on her first operational mission.

HMS Diamond and HMS Defender, which were part of the Carrier Strike Group, have already arrived back in Portsmouth today.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth

According to shipping movements published by the Queen’s Harbour Master, Queen Elizabeth will pass the Nab Tower in the Solent at about 2.30pm.

The main harbour channel will be closed to outbound shipping from 2.50pm while the carrier manoeuvres her way in, and will remain so until 4.50pm.

Queen Elizabeth is expected to be alongside at about 3.20pm.

HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Alex Shute

The best spots to watch the carrier and the other ships sail back into Portsmouth include the Square Tower and the Round Tower – although you should expect them to be busy as they are popular.

We will bring you all the latest updates and reaction throughout today in our live blog.

You can find the blog at the bottom of this article.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Solent just outside Portsmouth. Picture: Alex Shute
Crowds have begun to gather at Round Tower in Old Portsmouth. Picture: Alex Shute
Family of John Harris waiting at Portsmouth Naval Base for him to return. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Live updates as HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth

Last updated: Thursday, 09 December, 2021, 17:50

  • Carrier returns after first operational mission
  • Deployment has taken QE to the Far East
  • HMS Diamond and HMS Defender have also returned

The Queen sends message to the carrier

Heartwarming moment families were reunited

Graham Gregory with daughter Iris after HMS Diamond returned to Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

HMS QE with Spinnaker Tower

HMS Queen Elizabeth

‘You’ve got to love it'

Here comes HMS Queen Elizabeth!


Picture: Alex Shute

Watch our live footage of HMS Queen Elizabeth return to Portsmouth

Captain of HMS Diamond praises ‘incredible strength’ of Royal Navy sailors

Steph Leonard with husband Lt Cdr Tom Leonard and their children Penny, seven, and Sebby, four, at HMS Diamond's homecoming. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The captain of one of Britain’s most powerful warships has praised the ‘incredible strength’ of his crew for overcoming huge challenges during their seven-month mission at sea.

HMS Diamond made her triumphant return to Portsmouth Naval Base today having completed her stint bodyguarding the Royal Navy’s £3.2bn flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden voyage.

But the journey has been far from smooth sailing for the £1bn destroyer, which was faced with a disastrous engine failure in July and the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic.

She is getting closer

HMS Queen Elizabeth

Picture: Alex Shute

HMS QE is near the Solent Forts

HMS Queen Elizabeth

Picture: Alex Shute

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