Cunard claims to have staged the biggest celebration outside London to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by having its three ships sail in formation into Southampton for the first time.
Bad weather prevented a display by the Red Arrows from taking place as part of yesterday’s ‘Three Queens’ event.
Flagship Queen Mary 2 swung around as Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria tied up close to City Terminal.
QM2 then slowly passed each ship in turn, creating a three ship formation and revealing a ‘Congratulations Ma’am’ message by its funnel.
The celebrations culminated with an evening fireworks display as Queen Mary 2 led Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in single file down Southampton Water as the three ships set out on special Diamond Jubilee cruises.
The Queen has had a long association with Cunard, being the only person to have attended the naming of all three Cunard ‘Elizabeths’, starting in 1938 with the original Queen Elizabeth, then 1967 when she launched QE2 and 2010 when she named the current Queen Elizabeth.
President and managing director Peter Shanks said: “Cunard is delighted to be able to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in a way that gives everyone, especially our passengers, a truly remarkable day that they will feel proud to talk about for years to come, taking part in history and marking the 60 glorious years of Her Majesty’s reign in a fitting, memorable and spectacular way.”
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