The Royal Navy’s flagship is tonight at anchor in the shadow of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline on a high-profile visit to New York.
Four years after her debut in the Big Apple, aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returned to the ‘city which never sleeps’ to focus on Anglo-American military, political and strategic relations.
The 65,000-tonne warship is the floating venue for the Atlantic Future Forum – a conference which brings together the brightest minds and most influential thinkers from defense and beyond to strengthen UK and US bonds.
She dropped anchor within sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s unique profile adding to an already dramatic skyline.
The carrier was welcomed into New York by the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce.
“HMS Queen Elizabeth is not only the United Kingdom’s flagship, but is a fantastic demonstration of the soft power and the close working relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the transatlantic relationship,” she said.
“It’s an enormous honor to sail into New York on her. We share an endeavor in remaining the United States’ closest ally and I am very proud of what the ship has achieved for Britain in her deployment to the Indo-Pacific last year.”
Over the next few days, Captain Ian Feasey, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commanding Officer, will welcome hundreds of guests to the ship, which has been transformed into a unique, world-class conference venue for the forum.
“It is an amazing privilege to bring HMS Queen Elizabeth back to New York and to be formally welcomed to the United States by His Majesty’s Ambassador,” he said.
“We are very much looking forward to hosting the fifth Atlantic Future Forum and welcoming onboard senior leaders that embody our deep and special relationship with the United States.”
AFF Director Stephen Watson said the fifth iteration of the forum would see “political, military and business leaders to address some of the challenging questions of our time.”
He continued: “The welcome which has been offered to the UK’s flagship by our American hosts is testament to the strength and currency of the relationship between our two nations. I hope that our Forum will continue to build on the understanding and bonds between us.”
As well as hosting the two-day forum, the carrier’s ship’s company will have the opportunity to get ashore and visit New York, including formally paying their respects at the 9/11 memorial.
The carrier debuted in New York in 2018 – again to host the forum – ahead of fast jet trials with F-35 Lightnings.
Now fully operational – the ship led an international carrier group to the Pacific Rim last year – HMS Queen Elizabeth will return across the Atlantic and spend the remainder of the autumn leading operations and exercises in European waters upon completion of the visit.
She’s joined in New York by her frigate escort, HMS Richmond, which sailed up the Hudson River for a berth on Manhattan Island.