A NEW £3.1 billion aircraft carrier has been hailed as the ‘best of British’ as it was officially given a royal seal of approval by Her Majesty.
Accompanied by the Princess Royal, the Queen arrived on board HMS Queen Elizabeth at Portsmouth Naval Base using a specially installed lift to bring her up to the hangar for the occasion.
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson also attended to witness the 65,000 tonne vessel joining the Royal Navy fleet.
At 280 metres long and with an estimated half a century working life, the behemoth warship is the biggest and most powerful ever built by the UK.
In her speech the Queen said: ‘Like HMS Victory, HMS Queen Elizabeth embodies the best of British technology and innovation, a true flagship for the 21st century.
‘The most powerful and capable ship ever to raise the White Ensign, she will in the years and decades ahead represent the country’s resolve on the global stage.’
A total of 3,700 guests, including families and VIPs, gathered in the ship’s giant hall for the ceremony.
Mr Williamson said the commissioning ceremony ‘marks the start of a hugely significant chapter for the Royal Navy’.
He added: ‘Our new aircraft carrier is the epitome of British design and dexterity, at the core of our efforts to build an Armed Forces fit for the future.’