Camilla names new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, as Charles looks on
The Duchess of Cornwall, watched by her husband, has named the Royal Navy’s second new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales. Work on the huge £3 billion vessel was halted for the old naval tradition which combines a celebration with a solemn blessing. The duchess, the ship’s sponsor, smashed a bottle of whisky against the ship in the ceremony at Rosyth Dockyard, Fife. Her husband, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, looked on as she carried out the honours as the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier reached the latest landmark in the construction process. It will be 2019 before the carrier can begin sea trials. After a short speech, Camilla declared: “I name this ship Prince of Wales. May God bless her and all who sail in her.” She pressed a button to trigger the smashing of a bottle of Laphroaig whisky against the ship’s hull. The Islay single malt is believed to be one of Charles’s favourites. In her speech, she said: “As Lady Sponsor, I take great pride in my own personal connections with the Royal Navy. “For almost ten years now, I have been Commodore in Chief of the Royal Navy Medical Service and of the naval chaplaincy service. “I can also boast six Admirals among my forebears, who fought with varying degrees of distinction for King and country throughout the 18th century. “Naturally, however, my closest connection with our great Navy is through another Admiral, my husband, another Prince of Wales. So I already feel a particular affection for this ship. “When she and her ship’s company are out on the high seas, please remember that I will be holding you all in my thoughts and prayers. “I am certain that you will carry out whatever is asked of you with the pride that comes of being at the forefront of our Naval prowess. Wherever she is asked to serve her country, may she and her company return safely to harbour.” Earlier, the duchess told the crowds that seven shipyards across the country had worked together to design and build the 900ft carrier and its identical sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which arrived in its home base of Portsmouth last month. Camilla wore a navy blue dress and coat designed by Fiona Clare for the occasion, along with a navy and white Philip Treacy hat and a Prince of Wales feathered brooch. Charles, Admiral of the Fleet, was in uniform. The carrier is the seventh ship in the Navy to bear the name HMS Prince of Wales, with the first being launched in 1765. The “most distinguished” was a King George V class battleship, launched in 1939, which played a vital part in the Second World War. It was sunk in the South China Sea in December 1941, with the loss of 327 lives. Three men who served on the battleship were present at Friday’s ceremony.