Her Majesty The Queen has officially named the HMS Queen Elizabeth in front of a crowd that included shipbuilders, the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary, informs the UK Ministry of Defence.
The naming ceremony concluded with the smashing of a bottle of whisky over the bow of the ship. Whilst traditionally a bottle of champagne is used to smash against the bow, given the carrier’s Scottish roots, it seemed most fitting for a bottle of Islay whisky to be used instead.
UK MOD explains that towering at 56 metres and weighing in at [displacement] 65,000 tonnes, HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy. She will be used in a full range of military tasks, from war-fighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Operating with Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets onboard and having a long-range 3D radar fitted which can track a tennis ball travelling at 2,000 miles per hour, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be versatile enough to carry out these capabilities.
Blocks of the ship were manufactured at yards in Devon, Rosyth, Portsmouth, on the Clyde, and on the Tyne, before being assembled in the dockyard at Rosyth.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:
"HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest ship that the Royal Navy has ever had, and is a true demonstration of the UK at its best, with over 10,000 people across the nation working together to deliver her. This occasion marks a major milestone in regenerating the UK’s aircraft carrier capability, enhancing our ability to project power anywhere in the world."
Admiral Sir George Zambellas, the First Sea Lord, said:
"The naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth heralds a new dawn, not only for the Royal Navy but also for the delivery of our nation’s security. Her journey ahead will be global, strategic and one of inter-service and international partnership."
Work is already underway on HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, which will start to be assembled in Rosyth dockyard later this year.
Pictured: a Royal Marines band performing at today's carrier naming ceremony – photo by Chief Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Tam McDonald.