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Cunard celebrates Queen Elizabeth II and four ships she launched, in photos

Cunard celebrates Queen Elizabeth II and four ships she launched, in photos
Princess Elizabeth at the launch of the Cunard cruise ship Caronia in 1947. (Cunard)

Britain's longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has been showing up at signature events for Cunard since 1938. Now the luxury cruise line releases never-before-seen photos in honor of her 90th birthday.

On Sept. 27, 1938, Princess Elizabeth (middle, age 12) attended the launch of the Queen Elizabeth with her mother, Queen Elizabeth (left) and her little sister, Princess Margaret (right) in Glasgow, Scotland.
On Sept. 27, 1938, Princess Elizabeth (middle, age 12) attended the launch of the Queen Elizabeth with her mother, Queen Elizabeth (left) and her little sister, Princess Margaret (right) in Glasgow, Scotland. (Cunard)

The queen turned 90 on April 21, but will be celebrating throughout the summer. Cunard's photos show her role as the only person who has attended the launch of all three of the line's ships named Elizabeth.

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Princess Elizabeth at age 21 with then Lt. Philip Mountbatten (who became Prince Philip) at the christening of Caronia on Oct. 30, 1947, a few weeks before their wedding. <br/><br/><br/>
Princess Elizabeth at age 21 with then Lt. Philip Mountbatten (who became Prince Philip) at the christening of Caronia on Oct. 30, 1947, a few weeks before their wedding.


(Cunard)

On Sept. 27, 1938, a 12-year-old Princess Elizabeth accompanied her mother, Queen Elizabeth, and her sister, Princess Margaret, to John Brown's Shipyard on Clydebank in Glasgow, Scotland, for the christening of the original Queen Elizabeth liner.

<div>On Sept. 20, 1967, a crowd of 30,000 turned out to see Queen Elizabeth as she declared: "I name the ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God bless her and all who sail in her." Cunard historians report that after the christening, the ship didn't move for at least 70 seconds. Workmen on deck called out: "Give us a shove." Shipyard director George Parker sprang into action and gave the ship a shove. Newspapers reported that the queen wept as her namesake ship set off.<br /><br /></div><div>Credit: Cunard</div>
On Sept. 20, 1967, a crowd of 30,000 turned out to see Queen Elizabeth as she declared: "I name the ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God bless her and all who sail in her." Cunard historians report that after the christening, the ship didn't move for at least 70 seconds. Workmen on deck called out: "Give us a shove." Shipyard director George Parker sprang into action and gave the ship a shove. Newspapers reported that the queen wept as her namesake ship set off.

Credit: Cunard
(Cunard)

Her father, King George VI, remained home in London due to deteriorating relations with Germany. Slightly less than a year later, Great Britain entered World War II.

In May 1969, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (at top of stairs on the left), visited the QE2.
In May 1969, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (at top of stairs on the left), visited the QE2. (Cunard)

Over the decades, Queen Elizabeth has personally christened four Cunard ships: Caronia (Oct. 30, 1947), Queen Elizabeth 2 (Sept. 20, 1967), Queen Mary 2 (Jan. 8, 2004) and the Queen Elizabeth (Oct. 11, 2010).

On July 27, 1990, to help Cunard celebrate its 150th anniversary, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh reviewed Cunard and Royal Navy ships from the Royal Yacht Britannia.
On July 27, 1990, to help Cunard celebrate its 150th anniversary, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh reviewed Cunard and Royal Navy ships from the Royal Yacht Britannia. (Cunard)

As the photos above illustrate, the queen also visited the Queen Elizabeth and QE2 and has  observed Cunard ships from the decks of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

There's still time to wish Queen Elizabeth a happy birthday by tweet or via the British Monarchy's Facebook page.

After reviewing the Cunard ships, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the QE2.
After reviewing the Cunard ships, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the QE2. (Cunard)
The queen traveled to Southhampton, England, to name the Queen Mary 2 in 2003.
The queen traveled to Southhampton, England, to name the Queen Mary 2 in 2003. (Cunard)
Queen Elizabeth II made a farewell visit to the QE2, which was retired in 2008. Her mother had paid a farewell visit to "her" Cunard ship, Queen Elizabeth, in 1968.
Queen Elizabeth II made a farewell visit to the QE2, which was retired in 2008. Her mother had paid a farewell visit to "her" Cunard ship, Queen Elizabeth, in 1968. (Cunard)
On Oct. 11, 2010, Queen Elizabeth christened Cunard’s third ship that bears her name in Southampton, England.
On Oct. 11, 2010, Queen Elizabeth christened Cunard’s third ship that bears her name in Southampton, England. (Cunard)
 
During an Oct. 11, 2010, visit to Cunard's latest Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, the queen viewed her portrait for the first time. It had been specially commissioned to hang in the ship.
During an Oct. 11, 2010, visit to Cunard's latest Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, the queen viewed her portrait for the first time. It had been specially commissioned to hang in the ship. (Cunard)
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