Cruise News Daily Newsfile
June 3, 2008

One Last Time

Yesterday (June 2, 2008) was a splendid, day in Southampton as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II made a farewell visit to Queen Elizabeth 2. Her first visit to the ship was when she launched it on September 20, 1967. Her next visit was just prior to the maiden voyage on May 1, 1969. Her other visit was on July 27, 1990 to mark Cunard Line's 150th anniversary. Her Majesty has also reviewed QE2 on four other occasions.

At left, The Queen is shown stepping aboard Queen Elizabeth 2 for the last time yesterday.

Her Majesty is greeted by Capt. Ian McNaught, QE2's current master.

During her time aboard, she toured the ship, attended several functions, including a reception and luncheon with 300 guests that included former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher. She was also anxious to meet many of the staff. (And they likewise were excited and honored to meet her.)

Her Majesty was escorted to the bridge where she met the bridge team (left).

While there, The Queen signaled Cadet Jennifer Haynes, who is one of the ship's newest crew members, joining the ship in April. Haynes then sounded QE2's whistle to salute Cunard's flagship, Queen Mary 2 which was also in port yesterday. QM2 answered with her own whistle to salute Her Majesty's visit to QE2. Queen Mary 2 was named by The Queen in January 2004.

The Queen unveiled a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth 2 by noted maritime artist Robert Lloyd which depicts the vessel arriving at Southampton for the first time. The portrait will remain onboard until November 11 when the ship is retired.

Lloyd has also painted numerous other ships for the line and was commissioned to paint the official portrait of Queen Victoria which is displayed in that ship's main lobby.

This is one of the visual highlights of the day, almost like a QE2 family portrait. The Queen is shown here with the ship's current and former masters. (Back row, from left: Keith Stanley, Bob Arnott, Robin Woodall, Nick Bates, Ray Heath, Lawrence Portet, Peter Jackson, and Roland Hasell. Front row, from left: Commodore John Burton Hall, Ian McNaught, David Perkins, and Commodore Ron Warwick).
Just before leaving the ship, The Queen signed the ship's guest book one last time.

Since she launched the ship, QE2 served as Cunard's flagship for 35 years and sailed more than 5.6 million nautical miles.

During that time she has carried more than 2.5 million passengers, crossed the Atlantic 803 times and has completed 25 World Cruises. 

Interaction with the staff was an important element of the day. Just after disembarking, Her Majesty was presented with 55 red roses by the ship's Executive Housekeeper, Roz Price Evans, who is the longest-serving female member of the crew. The visit came on the fifty-fifth anniversary of The Queen's Coronation.
This is a sight that will never be seen again. The Royal Standard is shown flying from QE2's mast. It is only flown when The Monarch is aboard.

QE2 will be retired on November 11, 2008.

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