Queen Elizabeth naming 'a magic moment'

Daily Echo: A magic moment as Queen Elizabeth is named Buy this photo A magic moment as Queen Elizabeth is named

IT was a moment of pure magic.

Under the bright autumn sunshine, the Southampton dockside came alive with the vibrant scarlet, blues and gold as the Queen sent the christening bottle smashing against the huge hull of Queen Elizabeth.

As Her Majesty stood in front of the towering ship’s bow, the many decades of her long reign drifted away, back to the time when, as a 12-year-old princess, she stood beside her mother as she launched the original liner of the same name.

Now, more than 70 years later, history turned full circle to repeat itself as the Queen bestowed her own name on the 92,400-ton ship destined to carry Southampton’s rich seafaring heritage far into the 21st century.

The ceremony, watched by hundreds of specially invited guests and a television audience of many millions around the globe, brought one of the most famous and well-loved names back to life in Southampton, a city which proudly, and uniquely, boasts of being the home port for all three of the great Cunarders which have been called Queen Elizabeth.

A purpose-built arena, complete with a grandstand for the many hundreds of guests, a large sound stage, and a dais for the royal guest of honour, had been built in the shadow of the vessel berthed alongside the city’s Ocean Terminal.

Wearing a turquoise hat and matching coat, the Queen took her place on the royal dais as classical diva Lesley Garrett sang Amazing Grace, a song she performed at the naming of Queen Mary 2 in 2004.

Naming ceremony picture gallery

After a short service of blessing, led by the Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester, the ship’s master, Captain Chris-topher Wells, invited the Queen to perform the naming ceremony.

As the bottle crashed, the quayside erupted in a blizzard of confetti and streamers, the city’s waterfront echoed to a fanfare of trumpets and cheers, and a series of mighty blasts boomed out from the ship’s powerful whistles in salute to the royal godmother.

But before the ceremony began the Queen went on a royal walkabout around the ship’s decks, meeting members of the crew, visiting the bridge, and also viewing a new portrait of herself, specially commissioned by Cunard, which will hang as a centrepiece in the vessel’s grand lobby.

While the Queen toured the Cunarder, the VIP guests, including stars of screen and the stage, as well as familiar faces from television soap operas, attended a champagne reception in the Ocean Terminal.

Among those present were Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley, TV personalities Carol Vorderman and Sir Jimmy Saville, Coronation Street legend Liz Dawn, actor Robert Powell, former hostage Terry Waite, Falkland War veteran Simon Weston, TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh and global travellers and television presenters Judith Chalmers and Alan Whicker.

Gala dinner

At the end of the ceremony there were waves for everyone as the Queen left the dockside and guests embarked on the ship for a gala dinner and evening entertainment, which featured a West End-style musical.

The historic event crowned an unprecedented year of success for the port of Southampton, which saw the number of cruise ships based in the city continue to surge ahead and passenger totals crossing the dockside reach record-breaking levels.

Over the past six years, Cunard has brought into service three ships, QM2, Queen Victoria, and now Queen Elizabeth, all flying the Red Ensign with Southampton as their registered home port.

Equipped with the most advanced propulsion, navigation, communication and safety systems, the £400m vessel has been designed to pay homage to the art deco glory of the first liner of the same name.

Daily Echo: Queen Elizabeth arriving in Southampton

Queen Elizabeth arriving in Southampton

The gleaming new decks and public rooms are a celebration of rich wood panelling, cool and exotic marbles, intricate mosaics, glittering, crystal chandeliers and sumptuous hand-made furniture and carpets.

Queen Elizabeth, which was built in Italy, is the second-largest vessel ever to be built for Cunard and can accommodate up to 2,172 passengers in 1,046 cabins spread over 12 public decks.

Since arriving in Southampton last Friday, Queen Elizabeth, together with Micky Arison, chief executive of the Miami-based cruising empire Carnival Corporation, Cunard’s parent company, Captain Wells, and the shipping line’s top executives all hosted a series of lavish events for thousands of travel agents, as well as representatives of marine services and industries, together with port and local authorities.

Queen Elizabeth’s entry into service was hailed by Roger Towner, registrar general of the UK Ship Register, who said: “I am delighted to welcome such a high-profile ship to the UK flag.

“Queen Elizabeth is the latest in a long line of the company’s ships to register with the United Kingdom and maintains the well established connection between Cunard and the Red Ensign.”

Comments (7)

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10:37am Tue 12 Oct 10

StEmmosfire says...

Yes Italy should be so proud. They have a great ship building future, fully supported by their Government. The young people of that shipyard have a great and exciting future. Now back to my admin job, building Aircraft Carriers is so fun.
Yes Italy should be so proud. They have a great ship building future, fully supported by their Government. The young people of that shipyard have a great and exciting future. Now back to my admin job, building Aircraft Carriers is so fun. StEmmosfire
  • Score: 0

11:08am Tue 12 Oct 10

Brite Spark says...

StEmmosfire wrote:
Yes Italy should be so proud. They have a great ship building future, fully supported by their Government. The young people of that shipyard have a great and exciting future. Now back to my admin job, building Aircraft Carriers is so fun.
For aircraft carriers read 'aircraft carrier'.


As for the celeb list, 'Coronation Street Legend Liz Dawn?' Alan Titchmarsh! Judith Chalmers!!!


The ship looks great though and for those who would like to view her on her departure from Southampton this evening, here is her intended schedule.

17:00 Depart Ocean Terminal
17:20 Weston Shore
17:40 Fawley / Hamble River
17:50 Calshot Spit
18:00 Bramble turn
18:15 Cowes
18:20 Stubbington
18:35 Ryde Pier
18:45 Forts off Por*s@*!!


Sunset this evening is at 18:19 in Southampton.
[quote][p][bold]StEmmosfire[/bold] wrote: Yes Italy should be so proud. They have a great ship building future, fully supported by their Government. The young people of that shipyard have a great and exciting future. Now back to my admin job, building Aircraft Carriers is so fun.[/p][/quote]For aircraft carriers read 'aircraft carrier'. As for the celeb list, 'Coronation Street Legend Liz Dawn?' Alan Titchmarsh! Judith Chalmers!!! The ship looks great though and for those who would like to view her on her departure from Southampton this evening, here is her intended schedule. 17:00 Depart Ocean Terminal 17:20 Weston Shore 17:40 Fawley / Hamble River 17:50 Calshot Spit 18:00 Bramble turn 18:15 Cowes 18:20 Stubbington 18:35 Ryde Pier 18:45 Forts off Por*s@*!! Sunset this evening is at 18:19 in Southampton. Brite Spark
  • Score: 0

11:50am Tue 12 Oct 10

StEmmosfire says...

Bum, stuck here till 6pm :-(

Also for Aircraft Carrier read "people carrier" we have nothing to go on them yet!
Bum, stuck here till 6pm :-( Also for Aircraft Carrier read "people carrier" we have nothing to go on them yet! StEmmosfire
  • Score: 0

12:38pm Tue 12 Oct 10

RadicalEmu says...

What 'magic moment'?
.
Did our shipbuilding industry reappear in a puff of smoke?
.
No? Oh well, in that case, yawn.
What 'magic moment'? . Did our shipbuilding industry reappear in a puff of smoke? . No? Oh well, in that case, yawn. RadicalEmu
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Tue 12 Oct 10

G0Rf says...

shame the ship is so hidden from public view in that dock.

rubbish that there's no farewell fireworks and festival at mayflower park!!!
shame the ship is so hidden from public view in that dock. rubbish that there's no farewell fireworks and festival at mayflower park!!! G0Rf
  • Score: 0

8:32pm Tue 12 Oct 10

Condor Man says...

Interesting mix of guests, legends like Terry Waite and Simon Weston alongside Judith Chalmers and Vera Duckworth. I hope the event brought much needed cash into the city
Interesting mix of guests, legends like Terry Waite and Simon Weston alongside Judith Chalmers and Vera Duckworth. I hope the event brought much needed cash into the city Condor Man
  • Score: 0

4:58pm Wed 13 Oct 10

WoolstonSean says...

Condor Man wrote:
Interesting mix of guests, legends like Terry Waite and Simon Weston alongside Judith Chalmers and Vera Duckworth. I hope the event brought much needed cash into the city
Terry Waite is a regular Cunard passenger and was present for the final departure of QE2 as was Simon Weston with his connections to QE2 during the Falklands conflict, Judith Chalmers for her years as a travel journalist and Elizabeth Dawn 'Vera Duckworth' is a regular Cunard cruiser!
[quote][p][bold]Condor Man[/bold] wrote: Interesting mix of guests, legends like Terry Waite and Simon Weston alongside Judith Chalmers and Vera Duckworth. I hope the event brought much needed cash into the city[/p][/quote]Terry Waite is a regular Cunard passenger and was present for the final departure of QE2 as was Simon Weston with his connections to QE2 during the Falklands conflict, Judith Chalmers for her years as a travel journalist and Elizabeth Dawn 'Vera Duckworth' is a regular Cunard cruiser! WoolstonSean
  • Score: 0

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