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British RoyalsPrince Charles and Camilla

The Duchess of Cornwall marks naval anniversary


Picture by i-Images / Pool

The Duchess of Cornwall visited the HMS ASTUTE on Friday at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde to meet with the commanding officer of the submarine and members of its crew.

It was revealed in a statement from the Royal Navy that Camilla’s visit was meant to mark the 10th anniversary of its commissioning into service. On 27 August 2010, the Duchess launched the submarine as its lady sponsor and became the submarine’s patron.

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The Duchess of Rothesay today visited HM Naval Base Clyde and saw the Commanding Officer and the crew of HMS Astute. The visit marks the 10th anniversary since the commissioning ceremony of HMS Astute. Congratulating the Ship’s Company, The Duchess said: “I remember well the 27th August 2010, as we watched this magnificent boat enter into active service.” “And now, as we look forward to the next ten years of ASTUTE’s service, please know that, wherever you may be, I will be holding you all in my thoughts and prayers. “I am certain that, just as you have always done, you will continue to carry out your duties with the pride that comes of being at the forefront of our Naval prowess. May you always return safely to harbour.”

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During her visit, Camilla thanked the commanding officer and crewmembers for their work over the past decade, and gave a speech.

In her speech, the Duchess of Cornwall said:  

“As the very proud Sponsor of HMS ASTUTE, I am delighted to be with you today to mark the tenth anniversary of the Commissioning ceremony. I remember so well the 27th August 2010, as we watched this magnificent boat enter into active service. On that day, I half-jokingly wondered if I would ever join you for a dive. While that has not yet proved possible – (somewhat to my relief!) – I have taken an enormous interest in your work over the past decade. As ‘first of class and best of class’, you have covered more than 19,000 nautical miles, operating in some of the most diverse and challenging areas of the globe.

“Your remarkable achievements bring to mind some wise words of Sir Winston Churchill, which are particularly resonant following this year’s V.E. and V.J. Day celebrations. Speaking of the Submarine Service during the Second World War, Churchill said: Of all the branches of men in the forces, there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariners. Great deeds are done in the air and on the land; nevertheless, nothing surpasses your exploits.

“Churchill knew of what he spoke: he had been First Lord of the Admiralty at the outbreak of the First World War. It was he who insisted that submarines be named, rather than numbered. He intended this as a sign of respect to those in the silent service, who protect our nation unseen and, too often, un-appreciated. To me, the name ‘ASTUTE’ is an apt one. It of course reminds us of the submarine’s predecessor. But it also highlights the shrewdness with which you consistently grasp and take advantage of the situations you encounter under the water. Your ability to do so has rendered this country deeply in your debt, and I should like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am only sorry that today I am unable to shake each of you by the hand to express my gratitude, but sadly that will have to wait until the Covid restrictions have lifted.

“We are equally in debt to your families, who steadfastly keep the home fires burning, while sharing the stresses and strains endured by all those on board. Please tell them, from me, how much I admire their loyalty, stoicism and support.

“And now, as we look forward to the next ten years of ASTUTE’s service, please know that, wherever you may be, I will be holding you all in my thoughts and prayers. I am certain that, just as you have always done, you will continue to carry out your duties with the pride that comes of being at the forefront of our Naval prowess. May you always return safely to harbour. Thank you.”

The HMS Astute’s CO, Commander David Crosby, said of Camilla’s visit, “It is a great honour for me to show our Lady Sponsor her submarine and update Her Royal Highness on the recent challenges and successes of her crew and their families. 

“HMS Astute, as the first of class, has been at the forefront of delivering the extremely capable Astute Class submarines into the Fleet for over a decade and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to discuss with Her Royal Highness our next operational period.

“Her Royal Highness, as our Lady Sponsor, has always paid close attention to our progress and regularly sends her gratitude to my crew, and as importantly, their families; to that end, it was a great honour to be granted this opportunity for my team to show their appreciation of her support.”

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.