The name HMS Queen Elizabeth is a continuation of an historic Royal Navy name dating back over a century and the vessel herself is not named after the current monarch, despite a popular misconception to the contrary.
While this is not a surprise to anyone, it’s been well publicised, we believe it important to clear up any doubt on this matter.
The first Queen Elizabeth, named in honour of Elizabeth I of England, was launched in 1913 and entered service in January 1915 during the First World War.
Speaking to a contact of ours within the Royal Navy currently serving on-board we were told:
“The carrier isn’t named after her majesty, she’s named after the first Queen Elizabeth from Tudor times, it’s also why our crest is the Tudor rose.
Our ship is named for previous ships with the same name, it’s why we carry the honours associated with that name. The original HMS Queen Elizabeth as pointed out, was named for Queen Elizabeth the first, not Second.”
It’s a fairly easy mistake to make, HMS Queen Elizabeth was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth the Second, her naming ceremony was also lead by Queen Elizabeth the Second. Even a recent Royal Navy news story had, at first glance, appeared to suggest that the carrier was named for Queen Elizabeth the second.
The article, found here, said:
“Her Majesty the Queen will formally commission her namesake aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, into the Royal Navy fleet in just three weeks’ time.”
We spoke to a Royal Navy communications officer who cleared up the usage of the word ‘namesake’ here, he told us:
“‘Namesake’ does not mean we are saying it’s named after Elizabeth II specifically, it means something has the same name, which it does. I will look to make the connection (or lack of) clearer in future stories.”
The aircraft carrier keeps the original 1913 battleships ship crest – a red and silver Tudor rose (the ship is named after Elizabeth I after all) – and the motto – semper eadem (always the same).