Royal Britannia: The Queen’s role in nearly 90 years of cruise history

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This is your captain speaking: Paul Brown chats to the Queen at the launch of Britannia in 2015 (Picture: Dave Monk)

Since the age of eight, the Queen – now celebrating her Platinum Jubilee – has been involved in naming cruise ships. On September 26, 1934, she accompanied her grandparents King George V and Queen Mary to the launch of Cunard’s original Queen Mary in Clydebank, Scotland.

To view The Travel Film Archive video on YouTube (no commentary), please click here

Four years later, she saw her mother – then Queen Elizabeth – launch the first Queen Elizabeth for Cunard.

To view the Pathé News video on YouTube, please click here

While still Princess Elizabeth, the 21-year-old christened her first ship in her own right when she launched Cunard’s Caronia on Clydebank on October 30, 1947.

To view the British Movietone video on YouTube, please click here

Her Majesty was back in Scotland in 1967 to christen QE2. She also named P&O Cruises ship Oriana in 1995, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in 2004 and the new Queen Elizabeth in 2010.

To view the British Movietone video of the launch of QE2 on YouTube, please click here 

A Cunard film celebrating the Queen’s links with the cruise line (Credit: Cunard)

It was in 2015 that the Queen was called on again to be godmother to the P&O Cruises ship Britannia in Southampton.

The 88-year-old monarch, accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, sent a bottle of English sparkling wine smashing against the hull and declared: ‘I name this ship Britannia. May God bless her and all who sail in her.’

Today, the cruise industry salutes the Queen as she marks 70 years on the throne. 

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Lady who launches: The Queen ready to set the bottle on its way (Picture: Dave Monk)
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The second the bottle hit the hull (Picture: Dave Monk)

Every effort has been made to link back to the proper copyright owners of the video material.

See also:

Ladies who launch – a list of royal godmothers

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