Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 13:11 UK

Coronation farewell to QE2 liner

The Queen arrives at Southampton docks
The Queen launched the QE2 in 1967 and last visited the ship in 1990

The Queen has marked 55 years since her coronation by waving off the luxury cruise ship that shares her name.

She launched the QE2 in 1967 and the Queen was in Southampton on Monday to pay the ship a final visit.

She toured the vessel before attending a reception and lunch onboard with 300 guests, including the former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher.

The QE2 will be retired in November to be converted into a hotel in Dubai after more than 40 years in service.

The Queen was also meeting crew members, some of whom have served onboard since QE2 entered service in 1969, and others who went with the ship when it was requisitioned as a troop carrier in the Falklands War.

Street parties

Although named QE2, the ship was not named after the present Queen but rather the "2" shows that it was the second ship named Queen Elizabeth.

The Queen acceded the throne on 6 February 1952 following the death of her father George VI and was crowned 16 months later on 2 June 1953.

The ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey in front of 7,600 people.

Among them was four-year-old Prince Charles, who was propped up on a cushion in the royal box.


Footage of the Queen launching the QE2 in 1967

The day was chosen because of the likelihood it would be sunny, but wet weather ensued.

About 20 million people watched the proceedings on television after the Queen gave the go-ahead for television cameras inside the Abbey.

A cheer, audible a mile away, was raised by the crowd when she appeared afterwards with her husband and children on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

The coronation was marked by street parties across the country and there were festivities around the world.

The Queen, who was 25 when she acceded the throne, celebrated her 82nd birthday in April.

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