SOUTHAMPTON, England — Queen Elizabeth II named Cunard Line’s newest ship, the Queen Elizabeth, 72 years after the queen's mother named the original Queen Elizabeth and 43 years since she herself named the QE2.
In a dockside ceremony under blue skies Monday, Cunard President Peter Shanks noted that there have been three Cunard ships named Queen Elizabeth in the line’s 170-year history, and that the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has been present at the naming ceremonies for all three. She attended the September 1938 christening of the first Queen Elizabeth as a 12-year-old princess.
"Her majesty has a longer association with Cunard than anyone currently employed by the company," Shanks said.
The queen toured the 90,400-ton ship before the ceremony, touring the bridge and sounding the vessel’s horn to the delight of the crowd waiting in grandstands below.
The ceremony included black-and-white footage of the queen touring and then naming the QE2 in 1967, as well as video from the recent naming ceremonies for the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.
"I bless her and all who sail on her," the queen said before sending a bottle of white wine smashing onto the ship’s bow. The line said it chose to use a 2009 Rothschild white instead of champagne, harkening back to the line’s original tradition.
Shanks said that the line’s newest ship was the latest step in Cunard’s rebirth. The 2,092-passenger vessel is the second-largest built for Cunard after the Queen Mary 2 and is the line’s third new ship in six years.
Shanks described the Queen Elizabeth as "quintessentially British with international appeal."
To view a slideshow of the Queen Elizabeth, click here.