Her Majesty The Queen was in attendance at the decommissioning ceremony of HMS Ocean yesterday; the ship is also known as the ‘Mighty O’.
HMS Ocean was the Royal Navy’s largest operational warship and has been sold to the Brazilian Navy for £84 million. As well as being a warship, the vessel was recently used in the Caribbean after hurricanes Irma and Maria caused devastation in the British overseas territories.
The Queen was Lady Sponsor of HMS Ocean, and so it was fitting that she should attend the warship’s decommissioning. She last visited the ship and its crew in 2015, when the vessel had undergone a revamp.
Upon arrival, Elizabeth II was greeted with a 21-gun salute. The ceremony took place at Devonport Naval Base, with the royal guest of honour arriving in Plymouth station via the royal train. She was then driven to Devon for the ceremony.
Her Majesty, who wore her mother’s palm brooch, is very much at home on ships due to her family connections to the Navy, which she acknowledged in a speech.
“With three generations of naval officers in my family, I recognise the significant demands that have been placed on all those who have served in the ship over the last two decades, as well as the contribution of their families and loved ones.”
The Queen also paid tribute to the vessel’s crew, and told the assembled guests that The Duke of Edinburgh joined her in wishing them in the future. Prince Phillip served in the navy, and saw action during World War II; their son, Prince Andrew, was also a member of the Royal Navy, serving in the Falklands conflict. The Prince of Wales was also a member of the Royal Navy in his youth, commanding a ship.
During the visit, The Queen was joined by First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones, head of the Royal Navy, and over 500 of the vessel’s crew and their families.
The Sovereign had the opportunity to speak to some of the crew during a lunch onboard the ship. Lunch comprised of gin and tonic-cured fish, venison loin for main and a white chocolate panna cotta.
There was also a cake which listed the HMS Ocean’s battle honours, as well as the dates of her commissioning and decommissioning. The royal guest of honour was also presented with a special bottle of HMS Ocean gin, which was made onboard the vessel.
A cake was made especially for the decommissioning and The Queen was presented with a bottle of HMS Ocean limited-edition gin, made water made on board. pic.twitter.com/8cfxj8mLj8
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) 27 March 2018
Marking the special occasion was a flypast during the ceremony, formed of Merlin helicopters, a Chinook, a Sea King and a Wildcat.
To formally mark the ship’s decommissioning, the event ended with the White Ensign of the Royal Navy being symbolically lowered from the main mast of the ship. Members of the parading crew also removed their hats and gave three cheers for their Lady Sponsor, Her Majesty The Queen.
The 91-year-old also received a posy from children of the ship’s company before departing.