PORTSMOUTH will welcome the Queen to the city next month as she formally commissions Britain’s biggest and most powerful warship into the Royal Navy
The monarch will arrive in the city on Thursday, December 7, to undertake the ceremony on HMS Queen Elizabeth, defence secretary Gavin Williamson said.
Making the announcement during his first visit to the 280m, 65,000-tonne warship, Mr Williamson said the handover would be one of the most significant in British naval history.
Landing on the £3bn carrier as she undertook the latest phase of sea trials, Mr Williamson said it was an honour to visit the vessel and meet the crew.
‘In a world of intensifying global threats, this magnificent ship will be a leading force fighting to protect the values of the UK and our allies,’ he said.
‘I’m sure Her Majesty will be similarly impressed at next month’s historic ceremony for the nation’s new flagship, which proudly bears her name.’
The ship will return to her home naval base in Portsmouth ahead of the commissioning ceremony, which will see the Queen visit the vessel for the first time since being formally named by her in 2014.
Members of the royal family and a host of government and military dignitaries will also attend the ceremony, before the Queen offers a few words as Lady Sponsor.
During the ceremony the commissioning warrant will also be read and the White Ensign raised, which will signify the acceptance of HMS Queen Elizabeth into the Royal Navy fleet.
Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said it would be a great day.
The MP, who was sworn-in as a privy councillor by the Queen on Wednesday, said: ‘It is wonderful for the city that her commissioning will take place in her home port in the presence of her name sake.
‘I know what a moment that will be for us all and the Royal Navy.’
During her working life the ship can be pressed into action for various tasks such as high-intensity war fighting or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
She will also serve as a floating military base for the F-35B stealth fighter jets that will launch from the deck of the vessel to undertake missions.