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HMS Prince of Wales sails home to Portsmouth docks

WATCH Richard Slee's report:

Hundreds of people have gathered at the quayside in Portsmouth to welcome in the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, as the ship arrived at its home port in the naval dockyard for the first time.

The new vessel has just completed eight weeks of sea trials.

The families and friends of the grew assembled along with well-wishers as the city welcomed one of the country''s newest aircraft carriers for the second time in two years. HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK's largest aircraft carrier first arrived in Portsmouth in 2017.

As HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy's second largest aircraft carrier, sailed into Portsmouth Harbour - her crew stood lining the decks. Two Hawk jets marked the moment with a flyby overhead.

The crew lined the decks as HMS Prince of Wales sailed into Portsmouth Credit: Royal Navy

HMS Prince of Wales left the Rosyth shipyard in Scotland, where she was assembled, back in September. Almost a thousand people were on board, including more than six hundred Royal Navy sailors and three hundred and twenty civilian contractors. They headed to the North Sea to take the ship through autumn trials in the North Sea.

“It’s been a unique experience watching the ship transition from its initial build to an operational warship.

“It’s a proud moment to be a member of the first ship’s company and an opportunity that I am unlikely to get again.”

– Anthony Greatorex, Air Engineering Technician
Crowds gather at the Round Tower to welcome in the ship and her crew Credit: Royal Navy
Crowds wave flags on the quayside in Portsmouth

Now Portsmouth Naval Base is home to two aircraft carriers. The area's yard had to be modernised to increase capacity to be big enough to accommodate both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. Thirty million pounds was spent on strengthening and upgrading the base's Victory Jetty.

“I feel immensely proud to be a member of HMS Prince of Wales’ ship’s company while the ship is heading into its home port for the first time.

“It is a historic moment for the Royal Navy and I am looking forward to many years of service on this incredible ship.”

– Ben Daniels, Air EngineeringTechnician
Crew and families reunited after months apart