With so many tributes to Cunard’s Queens, it seemed appropriate that a real queen would name Cunard Line‘s new Queen Elizabeth. Members of the Royal family also named the last two Cunard ships. In 2004, the late Queen Mother named the Queen Mary 2 and in 2007, the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, named the Queen Victoria, accompanied by her husband Prince Charles.
But the current British Monarch Queen Elizabeth II owns a special place in the hearts of Cunard and its fans. As Cunard President Peter Shanks pointed out during the naming ceremony in October 2010, there have been three Cunard ships named Queen Elizabeth in the line’s 170-year history – Queen Elizabeth II herself has been present at all of their the naming ceremonies.
She was a 12-year-old princess at the September 1938 christening of the first Queen Elizabeth, when her mother, the Queen Mother Elizabeth, named that ship. And 43 years ago, she herself named the Queen Elizabeth 2.
“Her majesty has a longer association with Cunard than anyone currently employed by the company,” Shanks said.
Cunard ships, or liners as they like to call them, are the only ones in the world named for and by members of the British Royalty. This distinction is not lost on Cunard employees or its owners.
And Cunard is more than ever paying tribute to its history. Its employee mantra, “We are Cunard,” is meant to evoke pride in its storied 170-year history, replete with heads of state and celebrity guests (Ben Kingsley and David Frost were among the celebrities who toured Queen Elizabeth on the day of the naming), and ships that carried troops through two World Wars.
Touring her namesake in Southampton last Monday for the first time, she was even able to sound a resounding blast of the ship’s horn while on the bridge.