Princess Anne pays tribute to ‘vitally important’ Royal Navy during trip to HMS Collingwood 

PRINCESS Anne praised the vital work of the Royal Navy during a special trip to one of the service’s key training hubs.

The Princess Royal was greeted by a parade of 1,100 sailors at HMS Collingwood in Fareham during the site’s annual ceremonial divisions.

HRH Princess Anne attended HMS Collingwood's ceremonial divisions inspected the guard, presenting awards and takeing the salute from gathered Royal Navy Personal. Picture: Keith Woodland

HRH Princess Anne attended HMS Collingwood's ceremonial divisions inspected the guard, presenting awards and takeing the salute from gathered Royal Navy Personal. Picture: Keith Woodland

Acting as the reviewing officer, the royal inspected the ceremonial guard of honour and the accompanying HM Royal Marines Band Collingwood before presenting prizes to top officers and ratings.

Giving a speech to the crowd amassed on Collingwood’s parade ground, Princess Anne paid tribute to the men and women of the navy.

Looking to the future, the royal also encouraged the Senior Service to continue to invest in both its people and technological innovation.

Speaking of the navy’s importance, she added: ‘The maritime environment really does matter to our island nation. We still rely on seaborne trade for our prosperity and well-being. But it is never guaranteed and a growing demand for resources and raw materials may lead to increased competition over energy, food and water and there are all sorts of other complications from movements of people.

‘All have the potential to play out in a maritime context and to present challenges beyond a pure conflict scenario.The Royal Navy is a visible expression of a globally connected Britain, with ships deployed in the north Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Gulf and the south east Asia region.’

Dad-of-two Lieutenant Evan Mackay was among those picking up awards from the princess. He won the British Aerospace Sword.

He said it was an ‘overwhelming’ honour, adding: ‘I know my mum, who unfortunately passed away in 1999, would be extremely proud of what I have achieved.’

Collingwood’s base Warrant Officer Mick Turnbull, set up the parade. The 49-year-old, of Eastney, said the day was a career high.

He said: ‘I always say this is the best job I have done in my 32 years of service within the Royal Navy, so this has got to be my best day in my best job.’

Other award winners were: Lt Lucy Robus, Collingwood Officers’ Association Sword; LET Rebecca Maddison, Admiral Rutherford Trophy; PO (ET) Ryan Bramley, Worshipful Company of Armourers and Braziers’ Armoury Prize.