The Queen bids farewell to a Navy flagship in Portsmouth today

Her Majesty the Queen is visiting the Royal Navy‘s flagship HMS Ark Royal in Portsmouth today (Friday 5 November). The visit is to celebrate the aircraft carrier’s 25th birthday, and will include a Royal Salute, a service of commemoration, and a flypast of fast jets and helicopters.

It will, however, be a visit tinged with sadness, because Ark Royal was listed for disposal under last month’s Strategic Defence Review and will leave the fleet within the next few months. “I am obviously very disappointed that HMS Ark Royal is to be decommissioned”, said her commanding officer, Captain Jerry Kyd.

Ark Royal saw active service in the Al Faw peninsular off Iraq during the conflict in 2003, since when she has performed both as a commando helicopter carrier and as the Royal Navy’s High Readiness ‘strike’ aircraft carrier.