Author Topic: 50 Years Ago (May 1969) ...A QE2 Royal Visit  (Read 1706 times)

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Online Michael Gallagher

50 Years Ago (May 1969) ...A QE2 Royal Visit
« on: May 01, 2019, 07:29 AM »
With the Queen visiting Southampton on Thursday 1 May 1969to open the new Ordnance Survey Building it was hoped she would also accept an invitation to visit QE2 which she duly did.

This would continue a Cunard tradition set with Cunard’s other Queen liners. Queen Mary and other members of the Royal Family visited Queen Mary before she entered service and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited Queen Elizabeth during her post-war sea trials.

Accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh The Queen arrived in Southampton by special train at the Ocean Terminal at 1145 hours. She would spend an hour touring the public rooms and told officers “It really is very lovely”.

The Queen asked the Chief Engineer to explain in non-technical language what was wrong with the ship’s engines and received the following response: “Well, Ma’am, instead of going chug, chug, they went clang, clang…”

In his autobiography ‘Of Comets and Queens’ Cunard Chairman Sir Basil Smallpeice would later write:

“The Queen was in splendid form, talking freely to the officers in the Ward Room and to seamen around the ship”.

“…we were passing through the Queens Room…Stormont Mancroft pointed out to the Queen the Oscar Nemon bust of herself. ‘You are putting it here, are you?’ she said. ‘How did you manage to finish it so soon?’ ‘Of it’s not finished yet Ma’am, Stormont said. ‘This is only a plaster cast, painted over.’ The Queen continued: ‘He is a great perfectionist, isn’t he? I have now sat seven times for this bust, and each time he finds something wrong with it. “that’s no good”, he says and wrenches my head off’ – using her hands as she spoke to demonstrate his wringing her neck”.

The Queen arrived in the Midships Bar at 1300 hours to meet with members of the Cunard Board before proceeding to the Grill Room where lunch commenced at 1315 hours and was completed 45 minutes later. The menu consisted of melon ball cocktail, cold fresh Avon salon with mayonnaise boiled potatoes and tossed green salad and fresh strawberries and cream followed by coffee; Batard Montrachet 1962 was served.

Her Majesty sat at table number 3 with Sir Basil, Captain Warwick and the Vice Lieutenant of Hampshire Lord Malmesbury who was standing in for the Lord Lieutenant who was abroad. The Duke of Edinburgh sat at table number 2 with The Mayor of Southampton, and the Deputy Chairmen Lord Mancroft and Ronald Senior.

Sir Basil would later write:

“I had the honour of being placed on the Queen’s right, with Captain Warwick on her left and Lord Malmesbury opposite her. The conversation got onto aeroplanes and at one stage the Queen wondered whether the pace of life wasn’t getting too hot – ‘no wonder people get coronaries’. I confessed that I had just been out to Australia and back in eight days. ‘If you don’t mind my saying so’ she said, ‘I think you must be mad’”.

Before leaving The Queen remarked on the excellent condition of the ship and expressed her hope for a happy Maiden Voyage and career. After leaving QE2 she opened the £4 million Ordnance Survey headquarters at Maybush in Southampton.
« Last Edit: Apr 09, 2021, 01:47 PM by Rob Lightbody »

Offline Rod

Re: 50 Years Ago...Royal Visit
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 12:57 PM »
Now THAT, was a Captain!

Offline June Ingram

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Re: 50 Years Ago...Royal Visit
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 03:54 PM »
Thank you, Michael, for this wonderful commentary !

Yes, indeed, Rod !
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !