UK defense ministry announces HMS Queen Elizabeth commissioning date

Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is to be commissioned by the Queen in a ceremony on December 7, the UK defense ministry announced.

UK’s new defense secretary Gavin Williams made the announcement as he visited the carrier on Thursday, while at sea, sailing on trials around the south coast of England.

“In a world of intensifying global threats, this magnificent ship will be a leading force fighting to protect the values of the UK and our allies,” Williams said.

“It’s an honour to visit her at sea, and to meet such a passionate crew. I’m sure Her Majesty will be similarly impressed at next month’s historic ceremony for the nation’s new flagship, which proudly bears her name.”

The carrier is currently on sea trials and will return to her home port in Portsmouth for the formal commissioning ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth will be joined by a host of dignitaries from the Royal family, government and the military, before saying a few words as lady sponsor. The commissioning warrant will then be read and the White Ensign raised, symbolizing the acceptance of HMS Queen Elizabeth into Her Majesty’s fleet.

It will be the first time the queen has visited the UK’s new flagship since she formally named her in Rosyth, Scotland in July 2014. Since then the ship has been completed, sailed into her home dock of Portsmouth for the first time and is now continuing her sea trials.

Her identical sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, has also been formally named and is now structurally complete.