HMS Diamond To Launch Jubilee Weekend!

Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond will launch the nation's weekend of jubilee celebrations by honouring the Queen during a spectacular entry in to Portsmouth Naval Base on June 1.

The Type 45 destroyer will fire a 21-gun salute and give three cheers to Her Majesty as the ship enters Portsmouth Harbour at 10.30am while four Navy helicopters - two Merlin and two Lynx - perform a flypast over the ship in a diamond formation. The Navy saluting gun overlooking the harbour entrance at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, will fire 21 times in return.

Fleet Commander, Admiral George Zambellas, said:

"It is fitting that Her Majesty's Ship Diamond should mark Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee in this way. The Queen's affection for and commitment to the Armed Forces have touched the lives of many servicemen and women and their families over the past 60 years and I am proud that HMS Diamond is helping to launch this special weekend of celebrations across our island nation."

Once the ship is berthed in the Naval Base the celebrations take on a more relaxed fashion with a street party for the 190 crew and guests on the ship's flight deck.

The event will see the launch of a cocktail created for the Navy by the celebrated Dukes Hotel in London's Mayfair, called Dukes Royal Navy Jubilee.

HMS Diamond's Commanding Officer, Commander Ian Clarke, said:

"It will be a real honour for HMS Diamond to salute Her Majesty on Friday, signalling the start of Diamond Jubilee celebrations that weekend. By happy coincidence, 2012 is an important year for HMS Diamond as we sail for our maiden operational deployment in a couple of weeks' time."

Petty Officer Dickie Davies, one of the lead organisers of the ceremonial entry, said:

"Being a staunch royalist I am honoured at having a key part to play in the ship's entry to Portsmouth. I will be responsible for the training and the execution of the ceremonial drill on the upper deck. It will be a proud day for all servicemen involved and being on HMS Diamond will be the icing on the cake."

Among guests at the street party - which incorporates one of the nation's Big Jubilee Lunches staged by The Eden Project in Cornwall - will be visitors from the ship's affiliate cities of Coventry and Aberdeen.

They will be among the first to sample the jubilee cocktail made and served by Dukes Hotel head barman Alessandro Palazzi. Among the ingredients are Navy rum, apple juice, lime juice and Kings Ginger liqueur.

Hotel general manager Debra Dhugga said:

"We are delighted to be collaborating with the Royal Navy and HMS Diamond to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee in this way.

"Dukes has always had a close connection with the Royal Household over the 100 years it has been trading as a hotel. We are delighted to be celebrating this very special weekend."

Other special guests at the party include the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, selling copies of a new CD by the Band of Her Majesty's Royal marines Portsmouth entitled Diamond Jubilee. It features favourite tracks of the royal family that were performed by Royal Marines musicians on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Cdr Clarke said the street party would be a fun way of rounding off an important day for the ship:

"It will be fun to bring together the ship's company with representatives from our two affiliated cities of Aberdeen and Coventry for a street party on the flight deck - how else would we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee than with a rum-based cocktail, specially commissioned by Dukes Hotel!"