HMS Illustrious in Forth for super-carrier launch

HMS Illustrious will be back in the Forth today. Picture: Andrew Stuart

HMS Illustrious will be back in the Forth today. Picture: Andrew Stuart

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AIRCRAFT carrier HMS Illustrious was sailing up the Forth today for the launch of the Royal Navy’s new super-carrier Queen Elizabeth at Rosyth on Friday.

It will be the only time the two ships have been side by side. The Queen will launch the the new 65,000-tonne ship – the navy’s biggest ever vessel – by smashing a bottle of malt whisky rather than the more traditional champagne.

The Queen will also visit the Forth Road Bridge to mark its 50th birthday the same day.

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she will unveil a plaque dedicated to the people who have worked on the maintenance and operation of the bridge over the past 50 years.

The plaque, positioned at the viewing platform, located next to the Forth Estuary Transport Authority offices, will sit alongside the memorial the Queen unveiled when opening the Bridge on September 4, 1964.

Whilst at the bridge, the royal party will meet FETA’s six longest serving members of staff. She will also be presented with a bouquet of flowers by Charlotte Waite, aged eight.

FETA convener Lesley Hinds said: “Many people have dedicated their entire lives to operating the Forth Road Bridge – keeping a vital part of Scotland’s infrastructure network in good shape – and I can think of no better way to commemorate the time and effort they have given over the years.”