Queen Elizabeth Naming Ceremony
It was a glorious sunny day on 11th October at Southampton as the specially invited guests made their way to the seating area, set up in front of Cunards new Queen Elizabeth. Whilst we took our seats it was great to spot our famous fellow guests - we saw Judith Chalmers, Esther Rantzen, Robert Powell, Sir Jimmy Savile, Alan Titchmarsh, Terry Wait, Simon Weston and more.
To the right was a huge bandstand in which the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra played a number of stirring classical pieces, followed by the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus performing some wonderful choral arrangements.
After this performance - at the far end by the queen’s pavilion - the side gates opened and the Massed Bands of the Coldstream Guards and Scots Guards entered and marched towards the main bandstand, performing as they went. Dressed in their traditional uniform with bearskin hats, they matched the red of the Cunard logo and provided a rousing musical treat. This was followed by a performance by the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Irish Guards.
High up by the ships name a platform opened in the hull of Queen Elizabeth and the unmistakable sound of bagpipes filled the air, performed by Scotland’s favourite Piper, Louise Marshal Millington.
After a welcome speech by Peter Shanks, Lesley Garrett CBE performed Amazing Grace, accompanied by the Coldstream Guards and Louise Marshal Millingon with Paul Young on the bagpipes. This was a really emotional moment and many of the audience members were affected by this stirring performance.
The Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt, Lord Bishop of Winchester lead the Prayers of the Blessing, followed by an announcement that the Queen was about to arrive, so we all stood to welcome her.
A side gate opened and in drove the royal car, which stopped in front of the pavilion. The Queen emerged, resplendent in a turquoise coat and hat, and made her way to her seat. After a few words from Peter Shanks, Lesley Garrett and choirboy Alexander Howard-Williams performed another song.
The Queen made her way to the podium and proclaimed "I name this ship Queen Elizabeth, may god bless her and all who sail in her" and pressed the button than sent a jeroboam of Cunard Graves, Baron Philippe de Rothschild smashing onto the hull. This was followed by an eruption of fireworks and streamers and the sounding of the ships horn. A wonderful naming for a truly classy ship.