COMMENT: Queen has a very personal connection with navy

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It was only a week ago that she was just down the A27, thrilling the people of Chichester with an official visit to the city’s theatre.

Yesterday the Queen was back on the south coast again, this time in a city that she knows so well.

Arriving in Portsmouth to commission the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, she was full of smiles.

What a contrast to 20 years ago on Monday, when she had a tear in her eye as she and other members of the royal family watched their beloved Royal Yacht Britannia be decommissioned in the very same naval base.

In her speech to 3,700 guests, the Queen reminded everybody that her connection with the Senior Service was a very personal one.

She said: ‘As the daughter, wife and mother of naval officers, I recognise the unique demands our nation asks of you and I will always value my special link with HMS Queen Elizabeth, her ship’s company and their families.’

They were words spoken from the heart.

She knows very well that ships are nothing without the men and women who serve in them.

Yesterday was a day of pride. A pride in our monarch, our city, in our Royal Navy and in its latest flagship.

And how good it was to see representatives at the commissioning ceremony spanning the generations, from children presenting posies to veterans in their 90s recalling their days on board the original HMS Queen Elizabeth during the Second World War.

One, 93-year-old Vic Merry, said simply: ‘Today has been so special, I can’t describe it in words.’

Everybody who was there will know exactly what he meant.