by Katy Glassborow
BBC News reporter Katy Glassborow is on board HMS Illustrious as it takes part in the International Fleet Review in the Solent.
The crew of HMS Illustrious greet the Queen with hip hip hoorays
For each of the 174 ships anchored the in the Solent, Tuesday's review by the Lord High Admiral Her Majesty the Queen was a spine-tingling experience.
As HMS Endurance, carrying the Queen, wove through the lines of vessels, each ship's company saluted according to tradition.
Over 40 different nationalities were represented in the review, marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Aboard HMS Illustrious, the crew greeted the Queen by "cheering ship" with three resounding hip hip hoorays.
They were celebrating with particular gusto because on Thursday, the aircraft carrier will take over from HMS Invincible as the flagship of the Royal Navy's fleet.
As a strike carrier, complete with sea harrier jets plus merlin and sea king helicopters, HMS Illustrious has become a consummate command platform, able to coordinate a task group of ships, submarines and aircraft.
Looking out across the maze of ships, Commander Stuart McQuaker told the BBC News website: "We have the whole fleet in front of us from where we are anchored.
"This is a timely reminder of the awesome power of navies around the world - these are all our allies and as a flagship we might find ourselves working with any one of them."
Although operating with a somewhat depleting fleet, Capt Bob Cooling said Britain remains an imposing sea power because of its cooperation with coalition partners.
"This is a timely reminder of the awesome power of navies..."
"Defence diplomacy is at the heart of preventing conflict," he said.
"We work with our partners across the world, represented here today, to drive down illegal activity and ensure global security."
An enormous number of ships were in the Solent on Tuesday for the spectacle and Cdr McQuaker explained this was because the Royal Navy sets a benchmark that is recognised by navies across the globe.
"All these ships have travelled to Portsmouth as a sign of friendship to the country and out of respect to the Queen," he continued.
"They are showing they are reliable and trustworthy allies who want to share our big day."