31 March 2009

The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen

On this day in 1953, Her Majesty Queen Mary, in whose honor the stately ship was named, was laid to rest in the traditional burial place of British kings, St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Thousands of Britons, including British royalty and European nobility, had come to Westminster Hall in the preceding days to pay homage to the dowager queen, who had lain in state there after passing away on March 24. She was buried beside her husband, George V. 

Her majesty launched her namesake ship in 1934 at Clydebank, cutting a ribbon that released a bottle of Australian champagne against the port bow of the liner. It was the first ship built by the joint effort of Cunard White Star, and the first to bear neither the customary -ia of Cunard ship names nor the -ic of White Star liners. After the Queen Mary's launch, Britain's transatlantic fleet would truly be queens of the sea. 

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