HMS Prince of Wales has been commissioned into the Royal Navy today.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, as the ship’s Lady Sponsor, alongside HRH The Prince of Wales, presided over the ceremony at HM Naval Base Portsmouth this morning, to an audience of 2,000 from industry, allies, friends and families.
Commanding Officer, Captain Darren Houston, read the commissioning warrant to the crew and guests gathered in the hangar which will soon house F-35 jets and a variety of helicopters. Among those watching were the First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, ambassadors from France and USA, and the commander of the US Sixth Fleet, Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti.
The iconic White Ensign then replaced the Blue Ensign which has flown since she left Rosyth in September for her initial sea trials. Leading Writer Megan Ryan (27, from Stoke-On-Trent) was granted the honour of raising the new ensign; and youngest sailor, Chef Seth Day (17), cut the commissioning cake with Liesl Houston, the Commanding Officer’s wife.
Yesterday, the aircraft carrier was officially handed over to the Royal Navy by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.
Additionally, the Royal Navy have announced that the Prince of Wales (the person) was today honoured by the Royal Navy with a new title to celebrate the commissioning of his namesake ship.
Henceforth the Duke of Cornwall will be the Honorary Commodore-in-Chief, Aircraft Carriers, a title bestowed on him by the First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin, with the blessing of Her Majesty the Queen.
The Aircraft Carrier Alliance is a unique relationship between BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales, and the UK Ministry of Defence. More than 10,000 people across the UK have been involved in the programme to deliver the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, with six British shipbuilding yards across the country playing a vital role in the ships’ design and construction.
HMS Prince of Wales, the second of two aircraft carriers designed and constructed for the Royal Navy, recently sailed into her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time.
More than £100m has been spent updating and enhancing the facilities at Her Majesty’s Naval Base, Portsmouth, including an upgrade to the Princess Royal Jetty which will be home to both carriers. A new Combined Heat and Power facility has also been established to deliver power to the carriers, increase energy resilience and reduce the carbon footprint of the Base. Made up of three natural gas generators, at full load, the facility can produce enough energy to power 28,000 homes.
The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers are the largest, most capable and powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK, each providing our armed forces with a four acre military operating base. Once fully operational, the ships will provide the forward deployed base for the UK’s F-35B aircraft, delivering an uncompromising carrier strike capability to the UK’s armed forces anywhere in the world.