Queen to smash whiskey on Britain’s biggest warship
Queen Elizabeth II is to smash a bottle of whiskey over the British navy’s biggest ever ship at its naming ceremony in Scotland on Friday.
The queen’s namesake aircraft carrier will be called HMS Queen Elizabeth – and because the ceremony is taking place in Scotland, whiskey will be used in the traditional naming ceremony rather than the usual champagne.
Edinburgh Castle was lit up with blue light in celebration of the event, which is of symbolic importance as Scotland prepares to vote on whether to become independent from Britain in a September referendum.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the HMS Queen Elizabeth showcased the best of Britain.
“This ship, the biggest the Royal Navy has ever had, is a demonstration of the UK at its very best with workers from across the Union contributing,” he said ahead of the event.
The previous generation of aircraft carriers will be represented by the HMS Illustrious, which has docked in Rosyth port for the ceremony and is dwarfed by the new ship, which is three times its size.
A second aircraft carrier, the HMS Prince of Wales, is also due to be built as part of the project, estimated to cost £6.2 billion ($10.6 billion, 7.8 billion euro).
Whiskey from the Bowmore Distillery, which has produced the drink on the island of Islay since 1779, was chosen to for the ceremony because the queen previously paid an official visit to the distillery.
“As someone who grew up on Islay I know how much it will mean to the community to have their whisky playing a central role in such an important occasion,” said Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.
“World class whisky and world class shipbuilding are two of Scotland’s finest products so Friday promises to be a special day when we blend the two of them.”
The 65,000-tonne ship must still be fitted out, and is expected to enter active service in 2017.