Her Majesty The Queen was in Plymouth today as she attended the decommissioning ceremony of HMS Ocean at HM Naval Base Devonport. The Queen’s visit to Plymouth comes just a week after her son, The Prince of Wales, embarked on a mini-tour of Cornwall and Devon.
The Queen received a 21 gun salute upon her arrival.
The last time Her Majesty was in Plymouth was in March 2015 to rededicate the HMS Ocean after the former Royal Navy’s flagship vessel underwent a £64 million refit. Just three years later, HMS Ocean is being decommissioned as the HMS Queen Elizabeth replaces Ocean as the Royal Navy’s flagship.
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that HMS Ocean has been sold to Brazil for £84 million.
The Queen bid farewell to HMS Ocean in a huge ceremony where Her Majesty was, of course, the guest of honour. The Queen is a Sponsor of HMS Ocean.
The Queen was present as HMS Ocean sailed into Plymouth Sound for the final time where other Navy ships were out to meet her and guide her into the Naval base. The Queen then took the chance to inspect the ship and meet with some of those who have served on board as well as their families.
Her Majesty spoke at today’s event stating: “With three generations of naval officers in my family, I recognise the significant demands that have been placed on all those who have served in the Ship over the last two decades, as well as the contribution of their families and loved ones.”
The news of The Queen’s visit was broken on Twitter by Plymouth MP, Luke Pollard, who wrote, “While it’s lovely to have The Queen back in Plymouth it’s a sad day for our city, Devonport and the Royal Navy as HMS Ocean is decommissioned. Not a big fan of Conservative defence cuts at a time of increasing Russian aggression.”
HMS Ocean was commissioned in 1998 and is an amphibious assault ship, the UK’s helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy. She was designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force.
The Queen’s visit to Plymouth will be one of her last engagements before the Easter break.