Duke of Edinburgh Joins in Cunard Cruise Celebration

May 9, 2014

(11:30 a.m. EDT) -- HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was guest of honor at Queen Mary 2's 10th anniversary celebrations in Southampton today.

Prince Philip, who accompanied HRH The Queen 10 years ago at QM2's naming ceremony, toured the ship ahead of a gala lunch before unveiling a specially commissioned portrait of the ship by Robert Lloyd.

Cunard's flagship arrived in Southampton with her sisters, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, in the early hours this morning. The three ships played "Happy Birthday" on their horns and were accompanied by a water cannon.

The Duke was taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship before the drinks reception.

Cunard's CEO David Dingle said: "It's 10 years since your Royal Highness was onboard QM2 when HRH Queen Elizabeth named the ship, and it was a momentous event.

"It was the first time in 37 years since Cunard -- indeed any line -- had built a true transatlantic ocean liner, and it's an event that will live on for many years."

All QM2 captains past and present attended the ceremony, including Master Captain Kevin Oprey who said:

"As we leave Southampton and make our way to New York, we will be accompanied by our sisters Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.

"A ship is nothing without a crew, and I would like to thank the crew for their tremendous service in the past 10 years."

At 10 p.m. GMT the three ships will make their way out of Southampton accompanied by a fireworks display.

QM2 will arrive in New York on May 16 and depart that evening -- 10 years to the day since its first Eastbound crossing.

QM2 has sailed more than 200 transatlantic crossings and carried more than 1.3 million passengers.

-- By Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor