January 8, 2004
Queen Elizabeth II christened the transatlantic ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2 in Southampton, England. Queen Mary 2 was the first major ocean liner built since Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, and she succeeded that earlier vessel as the Cunard Line’s flagship.
“A steel-hulled behemoth, the Queen Mary 2 is the largest passenger ship of any type ever built and will be capable of crossing the North Atlantic at a brisk 30 knots [56 kilometers] an hour, regardless of the weather,” reported the New York Times around the time of the ship’s christening. “Triple the size of the Titanic, the Queen Mary 2 weighs about 150,000 tons [136,078 metric tons], rises 23 stories high and generates enough power for a city of 300,000.”
Queen Mary 2 is no longer the world’s largest passenger ship, but she does remain the largest ocean liner (as opposed to cruise ship) ever constructed. Queen Elizabeth named the ocean liner after the original RMS Queen Mary, which was completed in 1936. That ship was named after Mary of Teck, who had been the queen consort of the United Kingdom and wife of King George V. A white hybrid tea rose named Queen Mary 2 made its debut at the time of that ship’s christening, and Elizabeth held a bouquet of those roses during the ceremony.
For more information on RMS Queen Mary 2, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary_2.