Today at midday, the Queen will wave off Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship to mark 55 years since her coronation in 1953. The farewell will take place in Southampton where the QE2 is currently docked.
Approximately 300 people have been invited to the sending off. This marks a stark contract to the millions who watched the original coronation on television. A Royal Salute (41 gun) is set to be fired at 12 midday today which will be followed by another Royal Salute at 1pm, only this time 62 guns will be used.
The origin of the number of guns used comes from ancient ceremonies where 21 volleys would be fired to salute the arrival of a neighbouring nation. 20 shots are added to this number for royal occasions and a further 21 if it’s the capital city of London. Ridiculous, I know.
The QE2 will retire this November to become a floating hotel in Dubai after an incredible 40 years of service. The cruise ship was bought by Dubai World for an estimated £50 million.