Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 17:03 UK

Queen inspects new RN officers

The Queen inspecting Britannia Royal Naval College recruits
Her Majesty told the new officers never to forget who they were

Royal Navy recruits in Devon have been praised by the Queen and told to remain "true to themselves".

Her Majesty was in Dartmouth to inspect the officers at Britannia Royal Naval College's (BRNC) passing out parade.

She was greeted by a spectacular flypast involving helicopters, historic aircraft and the latest Navy Hawks and Eurofighter Typhoon.

The Queen and her future husband, Lt Philip Mountbatten, were photographed together at the college in July 1939.

European stability

Prince Philip was also supposed to visit Dartmouth, but was forced to cancel the engagement to recuperate from a chest infection.

When the royal couple were first photographed, Lt Mountbatten had recently completed his naval training and the young Princess Elizabeth was accompanying her father, King George VI, on a visit.

The Queen spoke of her affection for the college, which her grandfather, father and two sons had attended.

In her speech, she spoke of the integrity of naval officers and the long-term stability in Europe they should continue to protect in the face of new challenges.

Princess Elizabeth and Lt Philip Mountbatten, July 1939: Pic BRNC
The Royal couple were first photograhed at Britannia in 1939

"As modern technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, life in the Navy is even more demanding and challenging," she said.

"I am speaking to every individual one of you when I say never forget who you are.

"Despite all of the technological advances of the last decades, nothing will ever be more important than your inner sense of humanity, decency and regard for the dignity of others."

After presenting The Queen's Sword and Queen's Binoculars awards to the recruits, the Royal Party attended a reception in the college.

The Lord High Admiral's Divisions is considered the most prestigious of the six passing in and passing out parades held at the college.

The Queen, as Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy, last attended the parade in person in April 1997.


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