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Friday, Jul 4, 2014

World

Queen smashes whisky, gives her name to Britain's biggest warship

AFP | Friday, Jul 4, 2014

LONDON - Queen Elizabeth II smashed a bottle of whisky against Britain's biggest warship on Friday as she gave her name to the new aircraft carrier at a ceremony in Scotland.

The 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth is one of two carriers being built at a cost of £6.2 billion ($10.6 billion, 7.8 billion euros) to overhaul Britain's naval capabilities.

But the pomp of the ceremony at Rosyth Dockyard came despite serious doubts about the carrier, which will not be able to operate its US-built jets until 2020.

The 88-year-old monarch, attending the naming ceremony with her husband Prince Philip, said Britain's future flagship "marks a new phase in our naval history".

"Wherever this ship may serve, whatever tasks may be asked of her, let all those who serve on her know that on this day she was blessed with the prayers of us all for her success and her safe return to calm waters," she said.

"I name this ship Queen Elizabeth. May God bless her and all who sail in her." She then pressed a button to button to bring a bottle of Bowmore malt whisky from the Scottish island of Islay crashing down onto the side of the ship.

British authorities eschewed the traditional champagne in honour of the Scottish location.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the ship "will be the spearhead of British sea power for the next half century".

The Red Arrows military display team later flew over the ship, streaming red white and blue smoke behind them, followed by historic naval aircraft.

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