Princess Elizabeth meets Cunard's Queen Elizabeth.

In September 1938, a 12-year-old Princess Elizabeth attended the first of what would be many events with Cunard. She, and her eight-year-old sister Princess Margaret, joined their mother in Clydebank to launch what was then the largest ship in the world, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

The two young princesses, known to have had a close and somewhat playful relationship, stood alongside their mother in the Royal Box, taking in the occasion and no doubt waiting to find out what would happen.

Just before the launch itself, Sir Percy Bates, Chairman of Cunard White Star Line, pointed out the bottle of Empire wine hanging from a flagpole to Princess Elizabeth, explaining that it was ready to be smashed against the side of the ship. Excitedly, the Princess immediately relayed the information to her sister, and the pair got to work in making their own launching model in the Royal Box. They waved to the crew who had congregated along the rail of the bow, 200 feet above, all smiling and laughing with the princesses.

It’s thought that both Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret greatly enjoyed the event, although it must be said that the latter may indeed have missed out on seeing much of it. At just eight-years-old, her height was something of a hindrance, as we can see from the image that only the top of her hat is visible above the walls of the box.

After the launch of the ship, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Princesses moved to a platform to wave and rejoice with the tens of thousands in the audience below.

Her first introduction to Cunard, Princess Elizabeth would go on to be a part of many special occasions with us, from celebrating our 150th birthday to launching ships in both Clydebank and in Southampton.

Cunard's relationship with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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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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.

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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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