Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales will visit Liverpool later this month in a demonstration of the Naval Service’s close ties with the city.
The second of the Royal Navy’s giant new aircraft carriers will arrive in the city on 28 February for a week-long visit packed with celebrations and engagement with the local community.
People will also be able to step on board over the weekend of 29 February – the first time one of the new aircraft carriers has officially been open to visitors.
HMS Prince of Wales is affiliated with the cities of Liverpool and Bristol. Affiliations in the Royal Navy mean a close bond between a ship and the communities she is tied with.
Captain Darren Houston, the Commanding Officer of HMS Prince of Wales, said: “My ship’s company and I are hugely excited about our first visit to Liverpool. This is an opportunity for us to cement our bond with the city as one of the newest warships in the Royal Navy’s fleet.
“We’re looking forward to hosting people from the local community on board during our time alongside, and I know we will receive the warmest of welcomes.”
HMS Prince of Wales is one of the most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK. Along with her sister ship HMS Queen Elizabeth, they are the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy.
This is an opportunity for us to cement our bond with the city as one of the newest warships in the Royal Navy’s fleet
Captain Darren Houston
Her punch is provided by F-35 Lightning fighter jets as she deploys around the world in a naval task group.
With an expected service life of up to 50 years, the floating cities of the Queen Elizabeth-class are highly versatile and able to meet the widest range of tasks around the world.
The Royal Navy is transforming into a force centred around carrier strike – supporting the ships as they conduct carrier strike missions, enforce no-fly zones, deploy Royal Marine Commandos, deliver humanitarian aid, and build international partnerships with our allies.
The ability to move 500 miles per day – combined with the speed and range of the F35 jets – means these carriers can react at very short notice and make a difference around the globe.
Commodore Phil Waterhouse, the Naval Regional Commander for the Royal Navy in the north of England, said: “I’m delighted HMS Prince of Wales is visiting her affiliated city so soon after her commissioning. It gives both the city council and the ship’s company the opportunity to further build upon their strong bond – a bond that was established during build and that will be in place for the next 50 years or so.”
HMS Prince of Wales was formally commissioned in to the Royal Navy fleet in December, at a ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales and the ship’s sponsor, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The ship’s flight deck is 70 metres wide and 280 metres long – enough space for three football pitches. Her ship’s company make their way through 170 metres of sausages a day, which is roughly twice the height of the Liver Building.
She has a ship’s company of 700 sailors, which will increase to around 1,600 with aircraft on board.
Deputy Mayor and Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “It’s a huge coup for Liverpool to welcome its affiliated ship HMS Prince of Wales on its inaugural, history-making visit.
“The sheer scale of the ship will be a real spectacle on the River Mersey and is set to attract national and international attention, drawing massive crowds.
“Maritime events always prove to be hugely popular in Liverpool, and this will be no exception. Once again our world heritage waterfront will provide the incredible backdrop for a striking vessel, and we look forward to welcoming her at the end of the month.”
Exact timings for the ship’s arrival in Liverpool, and details of how to obtain tickets to visit the ship, will be announced in due course, dependent on weather conditions and operational commitments.