COMMENT: Whenever she arrives, we'll give her a big welcome
Could the Royal Navy's mighty new flagship be heading for Portsmouth in just a few weeks' time?
Get your flags ready to wave, because we reveal today how an insider at the city council claims that Monday, August 21 has been earmarked as the big day during a briefing involving the council, the Royal Navy, BAE Systems and Hampshire Constabulary about preferred dates.
Apparently the date is going to be confirmed next week and is still subject to change by a couple of days either way.
Of course, the navy has not made any official confirmation of exactly when the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth will finally sail into the dockyard that she will call home.
All the while she is undergoing sea trials to test her systems, teething troubles may emerge that mean any arrival date could be pushed back. So it’s understandable that there’s no official commitment to a particular day.
But with so many parties involved, there has to be some forward planning when we’re talking about an event of such significance and complexity. She can’t simply ‘arrive’ as she requires infrastructure and a workforce ready to maintain her.
It’s exciting to think that our new supercarrier could be here, in the metal, in just a few weeks.
We imagine it will be quite something to see her and the ship’s company entering the harbour and ushering in a new era for the Royal Navy.
But if the date of August 21 comes and goes, we’re happy to wait.
After all, the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth has been a long time coming.
And when she does finally hove into view, we know the city and its people will give her a welcome to remember.