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Watched by a crowd of 11,000 cheering people in Glasgow, the Countess of Wessex launched the £605-million ship. Restaurants overlooking the shipyard had been booked out for weeks in advance by those eager to get a prime view of the ceremony
Photo: © EMPICS
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Sophie inspects a model of the vessel with five-year-old Nathan Gregg, who was celebrating his birthday that day
Photo: © EMPICS

SOPHIE GIVES 'HMS DARING' A ROYAL SEND OFF

2 FEBRUARY 2006

An 11,000-strong crowd of cheering people watched in Glasgow yesterday as the Countess of Wessex launched one of the most impressive military vessels ever to take to the sea. In honour of HMS Daring's British pedigree, the national anthem sounded out across the Scottish shipyard as Sophie stepped up to do the honours.



In keeping with the celebratory mood the elegant royal had chosen a suit in a vibrant shade of red. After the strains of the brass band died down, the 41-year-old declared: "I name this ship Daring and may God bless her and all who sail in her."

As the Countess sent the £605-million ship hurtling down the slipway into the River Clyde onlookers let out a jubilant cry. Also there to share the excitement was five-year-old Nathan Gregg, who'd come along to the ceremony as a birthday treat and who got to chat with Prince Edward's wife.

Not only is the Daring the most powerful destroyer ever built in the UK, the vessel is the first in a series of six on order. HMS Dauntless, Diamond, Defender, Dragon and Duncan are all due to be launched in a programme that will safeguard 2,500 jobs in the area.

The 190 crew members who'll man the ship can also expect comforts worthy of a five-star hotel. The sailors will be able to charge their iPods, check e-mail and relax on sofas in front of state-of-the-art TVs.


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