HMS Queen Elizabeth officially joins the fleet

The Queen has officially welcomed the UK’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, at a ceremony to commission it into the Royal Navy.

During the ceremony, the commissioning warrant was read, and the Blue Ensign, which has been flying from the ship until it is formally handed over to the Royal Navy, was replaced with the White Ensign, raised by 20-year-old Able Seaman Ellie Smith from Hull.

Addressing the assembled guests and ship’s company, The Queen described the ship as “the most powerful and capable ship ever to raise the White Ensign”.

“At the forefront of these responsibilities will be the men and women of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, supported by the Army, Royal Air Force and by coalition partners.

“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 to HMS Queen Elizabeth, her ship’s company and their families,” she said

The First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones, said: “We have been on a long, complicated – but committed – journey to get to this point and commissioning the ship is a key milestone.

“The point of the big grey ship is it’s enormously big, flexible, capable and adaptable.”

The ceremony finished with the cake representing the ship being cut by the commanding officer’s wife Karen Kyd and the youngest member of the ship’s company Steward Callum Hui, 17, from Lynton, Devon.