Queen Elizabeth II launches Queen Elizabeth.

In 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II travelled again to Southampton to launch Queen Elizabeth. Sadly, this would be her final ship launch for Cunard.

Prior to the day of the launch, a private event was hosted at the National Portrait Gallery in London, where a newly commissioned portrait of the Queen was unveiled by the artist. This was in keeping with the Cunard tradition of commissioning a piece of art, be it a sculpture or a portrait, to display on every ship named by a member of the Royal Family.

The portrait was painted by Isobel Peachey, a young, 31-year-old artist who hails from Lancashire and studied Fine Art and Photography at the Wimbledon School of Art. While Peachey was already an accomplished, award-winning artist, she had never previously been commissioned to paint a royal portrait.

Later she remarked: ‘At my interview with Cunard, I answered many questions about how I would approach an important commission – but it was only at the end of the interview that the subject was revealed as The Queen. This was both a shock and a marvelous surprise.’

The portrait itself displays The Queen in the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, with Her Majesty dressed in blue and wearing Queen Victoria’s collet necklace and earrings, which she also wore for her Coronation in 1953.

The Queen herself viewed the finished portrait for the first time just before naming the ship, when she also met with the artist.

Today the portrait is proudly displayed in Queen Elizabeth’s Queens Room.

Cunard's relationship with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Meeting Queen Elizabeth.

In September 1938, a 12-year-old Princess Elizabeth attended the first of what would be many events with Cunard.

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Queen Elizabeth II on board QE2.

After launching one of our most iconic ships, Queen Elizabeth 2, in Clydebank in 1967, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came to see her namesake ship once again, before she set off on her maiden voyage.

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Queen Elizabeth II launches Queen Mary 2.

37 years after she launched Queen Elizabeth 2, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II travelled to launch Queen Mary 2 in Southampton, in January 2004.

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A final farewell to a beloved Queen.

Caroline Aston, broadcaster and royal correspondent, shares her reflections from on board as news of Her Majesty's passing spread around the globe.

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