As the giant ship sailed past Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard and the National Museum of the Royal Navy, there was one question on their minds: What would Vice Admiral Lord Nelson make of her?
The Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carrier is 35 times the size of his famous flagship, HMS Victory, and four times her length.
Visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will get the very best view of Britain’s latest aircraft carrier this summer now she has arrived in her home port. The largest aircraft carrier ever built for the Royal Navy, and the longest British warship since HMS Hood, HMS Queen Elizabeth represents the latest in technology and expertise in a new chapter to the Royal Navy’s 800 year history.
Views of the 65,000 tonne, 280 metre long carrier are possible from HMS Victory’s poop deck, the viewing platform of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, and from the water on a harbour tour.
Director of Visitor Experience John Rawlinson said: “The excitement is palpable about the arrival of the carriers. The best views of the carrier will be from our site and I can think of no better place to view this naval icon than from the ships that have defined our history like HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860 and the Mary Rose. The future of the Royal Navy is firmly embedded with the past – it will be a real highlight for our visitors and an absolute must-see.”
To coincide with the carrier’s arrival into her new Portsmouth home, there is a new Aircraft Carrier exhibition in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Storehouse Number 9. For more than a century, the Royal Navy has led the way in operating aircraft from ships, and designing and building specialist aircraft carriers. The arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2017 and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales in 2020 marks the latest phase in this long history.
The exhibition charts the unique history of aircraft carrier development, from the beginnings of naval aviation where reconnaissance sea planes were craned on and off converted cruisers, through to the first specialist seaplane carrier HMS Hermes in 1924, to HMS Illustrious, the last of the ‘innovative jump jet carriers’, decommissioned in 2014.