The Queen Smiles: Watch a Surprising Moment at Cunard's Big Launch

October 15, 2010

(2:30 p.m. EDT) -- Queen Elizabeth II isn't known for her range of facial expressions.

So, for us at Cruise Critic, one of the highlights of a great week -- in which Cunard's new Queen Elizabeth was launched -- was the look on Her Majesty's face during a speech made at the Southampton ceremony.

"In our 170-year history, Cunard has owned three ships bearing the name Queen Elizabeth. The first was launched in 1938. The second was launched in 1967. The third is being named today, in 2010," said Peter Shanks, the line's president and managing director.

He continued, "And there is only one person here who can claim presence at all three Elizabeth namings, and that person is ... Her Majesty, The Queen."

The Queen's response? Priceless. The words clearly surprised her, and her wonderful reaction sent a chill -- the best kind -- through the audience. Here's a clip of the naming ceremony highlights, in which you see how the Queen's face lights up (at about minute 1:49).

In fact, Cruise Critic members have been pointing out all week on our blog that the Queen has named several ships in addition to QE2 and Queen Elizabeth.

Robert comments, "HM Queen Elizabeth II has launched at least another merchant ship, Shaw Savill's 'Southern Cross' on 17 August 1954, an ocean liner for the southern trade to Australia." Janet points out that the Queen also named P&O's Oriana in 1995.

Meanwhile, Stuart Cameron notes that Her Majesty named the former Royal Yacht Britannia on the Clyde in 1953 and the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses tender (Fingal) in 1990, as well as the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry (Hebrides) in 2000. He adds, "I was fortunate to attend both of these launches (as a schoolboy I had also witnessed Her Majesty launching QE2 in September 1967)."

Have you been following the Queen Elizabeth story over the past week? What are your favourite moments?

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor