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Update: Duke of Edinburgh celebrated tenth anniversary of QM2

The Duke of Edinburgh led celebrations on Friday 9 May at a special day of events to mark the tenth anniversary of the Queen Mary 2 becoming the Cunard flagship.

It was a remarkable occasion as the city of Southampton witnessed the arrival of Cunard’s whole three ship fleet, QM2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. To have all three of Cunard’s ships in the same place at the same time is a rarity. Southampton is the only place in the world to have hosted the ‘Three Queens’on three occasions.

The last time this occasion happened was to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee back in 2012. The Duke of Edinburgh attended a reception and gala lunch on board the QM2. This was first time that the Duke has been on the liner since he accompanied the Queen back in 2004 when she officially named the ship.

Prince Phillip toured the liner and meet members of her crew before a special rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ was blasted out from the ships mighty whistles, whilst 10,000 balloons were let go from the ship’s top deck. The rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ was not the only celebration taking place today, the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria arrived at first light up the Southampton Water followed by a fire tug spouting water jets, heralding the arrival of the birthday girl QM2.

As Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria came bow to bow, just 30 metres apart, their sister ship slowly sailed past. The QM2 is Cunard’s flagship and is considered the most magnificent ocean liner ever built. She was the first major ocean liner built since the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, the vessel she succeeded as flagship. The new ship was named Queen Mary 2 by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 after the first RMS Queen Mary, which was completed in 1936.

Queen Mary was named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. To round off the celebrations a spectacular fireworks display will take place later in the evening. Beginning at 10pm, the fireworks will cascade over QM2 as she positions herself off the other two ships alongside the Queen Elizabeth II terminal.

The QM2 will set off down the Southampton water followed by the other two Cunard ships. Since entering service, the Queen Mary 2 has undertaken a total of 419 voyages including over 200 transatlantic crossings. She has also called at 182 ports in 60 different countries and carried in excess of 1.3 million passengers.

Featured photo credit: Royal Navy Media Archive via photopin cc

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