HMS Queen Elizabeth Commissioning Ceremony

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

On this day two months ago, I was invited to the HMS Queen Elizabeth commissioning ceremony at the Royal Navy Portsmouth Naval Dockyard as a guest of my wonderful partner, Rob who was based on the aircraft carrier at the time in and what a spectacular event it was! It's not every day you get to see The Queen in real life, witness a one-of-a-kind new aircraft carrier being commissioned for an international event, and to experience it first-hand was amazing!

It all took place 7 Dec 2017, a drizzly cold morning in Portsmouth but that didn't dampen spirits as Rob's parents and I queued up for the coaches, this was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of ceremony. When we arrived at the dockyard where the coach pulled up just outside the ship, I was astonished by the sheer size! Although I've seen her in pictures in comparison to the Spinnaker Tower, it's not until you see her in real-life that you grasp the magnitude. She is the Royal Navy's largest ever warship. An impressive 900ft long, the aircraft carrier is the same size as 3 football pitches!


As everyone was getting their seats in the hangar (where all the aircraft is held), I managed to quickly catch up with Rob who was participating in the military parade along with the ship's company. He looked so smart and I was super proud of seeing him in his Naval no.1 dress uniform on this special occasion. Whilst waiting for The Queen's arrival, renowned singer Katherine Jenkins sang a few songs for the troops which filled the room with a sense of pride.

At about midday, Her Majesty the Queen arrived with her daughter, The Princess Royal in which we all stood to welcome the distinguished guests. It was a truly special moment as a fan of the Royal Family, seeing The Queen in her regal purple dress was amazing. Again, it's one of those things until you experience in person the effect The Queen has in a room.

Although my partner has been in the Royal Navy for three years, I still feel relatively new to all the Naval traditions. One of which was after The Queen made an address, the ceremonial cake (wonderfully made by Scottish cake designers 3D Cake) was cut by the Captain, Commodore Jerry Kyd's wife and the youngest member of the Ship's company.

"As the daughter, wife and mother of naval officers, I recognise the unique demands our nation asks of you; and I will always value my special link with HMS Queen Elizabeth, her ship’s company and their families." - Her Majesty the Queen

Hearing The Queen address the Ship's company and all the invited guests had a profound effect on the audience. It really does make you feel proud of your country, the military and loved ones and couldn't be beaming with more pride of my partner Rob on this extraordinary day.



We stayed over in Portsmouth for a night where we celebrated the commissioning with a tasty dinner in Southsea with Rob's parents the evening of the ceremony. It was lovely to have the family together! The following day, Rob took us all on a tour around the aircraft carrier which was both impressive but also very very cold (I'm happy to have my office in a warm cosy room!) Despite not really understanding all the technical facts & figures, it was really interesting seeing how the other half lives on a ship, their living quarters, bunk bed and their 'office space' (certainly very different from mine!) I was able to take a few snaps on this day and also an opportunity to walk on the flightdeck and take photos. Gosh, it's so vast and BIG!

I find it quite amusing that the Ship's pennant number is R08 which from afar, looks like 'Rob' in capital letters! Of course, had to get an obligatory photo of Rob in front of his name! A cool coincidence! All in all, an amazing two days!

Happy to be supporting the HM Armed Forces and I offer a special 10% off Military Discount if you're booking your wedding photography. Get in touch for more details.

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