The UK’s largest warship was officially named in Queen Elizabeth II’s honor at a ceremony at Fife’s Rosyth Dockyard.
The vessel marks “a new phase in our naval history”, the Queen has said.
A bottle of whisky was smashed on the hull of the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth – the first of two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers being built.
The Red Arrows flew over the dockyard before the ship was officially named.
First Sea Lord Admiral George Zambellas said the ship was “fit for a Queen”.
Addressing the audience, Queen Elizabeth said the “innovative and first class” warship, the largest ever to be built in the UK, ushered in an “exciting new era”.
“In sponsoring this new aircraft carrier, I believe the Queen Elizabeth will be a source of inspiration and pride for us all,” she said.
“May God bless her and all who sail in her.”
About 3,500 people involved in the design and construction of the carrier watched the celebrations, alongside dignitaries and politicians including PM David Cameron, First Minister Alex Salmond and former PM Gordon Brown.
David Cameron said it was a “very proud day” for Scotland and the UK, while Alex Salmond said it was a “huge day” for the workers and their families.
Ian Booth, of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance which is overseeing the ship’s construction, said it was a “historic occasion”.
The Red Arrows fly-past was followed by a procession of three generations of Royal Navy aircraft, including a historic 1950s de Havilland Sea Vixen fighter – the last and only flying aircraft of its kind in the world.
The Queen oversaw the ceremony by pressing a button to release a bottle of Islay malt whisky – suspended at the front of the ship – to smash on to the hull.
The naming ceremony, a naval tradition dating back thousands of years, marked the first time in more than 15 years that the Queen has christened a Royal Navy warship.
Six shipyards in the UK including Tyne, Rosyth and Appledore have been involved in building parts of the carrier.
More than 10,000 people at more than 100 companies have worked on HMS Queen Elizabeth, which has been beset by construction and design delays.
The estimated cost of the vessel and its sister ship is £6.2 billion ($10 billion), well over the initial projected cost of £3.65 billion ($6 billion).
The warship is as long as 25 buses and can carry 40 jets and helicopters at a time. It will have a permanent crew of almost 1,600 when it enters service in 2020.
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