The Queen has officially named Cunard’s new Queen Elizabeth cruise ship in the port of Southampton.

The ship will leave on her maiden voyage to the Canary Islands on Tuesday 12 October 2010 – a trip that was fully booked in 29 minutes after going on sale.

The Italian-built, 92,000-tonne, 964ft (294m) long vessel arrived in the Southampton on Friday.

She joins two other “queens” in the Cunard fleet – the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) and the Queen Victoria.

The Queen, dressed in a turquoise silk dress and wool coat by designer Peter Enrione, undertook a guided tour of the vessel with the ship’s master captain Christopher Wells after first being met by Cunard president Peter Shanks.

Dan Garabette, aged eight, from Kings Worthy School in Winchester, presented her with a posie of flowers.

Prayers were said by the Bishop of Winchester and the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt before the Queen stepped up to the poduim.

‘Super liner’

“I name this ship Queen Elizabeth, may God bless her and all who sail in her,” Her Majesty said.

Following tradition, the vessel was named with a bottle of Cunard’s private label Graves Rothschild white wine, which was smashed across the bow of the ship, rather than Champagne.

Mr Shanks said: “All of us at Cunard feel a great sense of pride in our new ship and today’s ceremony.

“This pride stems from the continuation of our distinguished heritage and, of course, from the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.”

The hymn Jerusalem was sung by Alexander Howard-Williams and the other music included Handel’s Zadok The Priest, Amazing Grace sung by Lesley Garrett, and also Land Of Hope And Glory.

Among the other guests were Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley, human rights campaigner and former hostage Terry Waite, TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh, Holby City actor Robert Powell and veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile.

Posted on: 11/10/2010