Princess Royal visits Olympics Maritime Security Force Dorset

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has taken time out from her busy schedule supporting London 2012 Olympic events nationwide to visit members of the Maritime Security Force who have been providing the safety net and protective screen around the Olympic sailing venue.

The Force has been providing a security curtain around 50 square miles (129 square kilometres) of Dorset’s coastline and airspace for the past few weeks.

Accompanied by her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne initially visited the combined military and police diving unit who scoured the seabed, ports and pontoons across the wide expanse of the bay in the run up to the Games and witnessed the sophisticated sonar technology used to detect and investigate potential underwater threats.

The royal couple, dressed in Team GB Olympic uniform jackets, were then formally welcomed to Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Mounts Bay by the ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Kevin Rimell - the amphibious logistics vessel is berthed securely in Portland Harbour.

The ship is the vital logistics hub for the many military and police units supporting the police-led maritime security operation.

With a huge dock inside the ship, flight deck and the capacity to accommodate hundreds of personnel on board, the ship is providing a busy, versatile port-within-a-port from which hundreds of police and military boat crews are deploying each day out onto the waters of the bay.

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne shares a joke with a Royal Marine on board Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Mounts Bay
Her Royal Highness Princess Anne shares a joke with a Royal Marine on board Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Mounts Bay [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Joel Rouse, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]

During the visit many serving members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary were introduced to the Princess Royal and her husband and they also enjoyed spending time talking about the operation on the bridge of the ship while admiring the panoramic view of the harbour through the unusually wide windows from the high vantage point of the bridge.

Then, while chatting informally to chefs, engineers and logistics officers, the Princess made a point of speaking to chefs Stuart Ellston and Scott Hamilton, having spotted submariner’s brooches on their chef’s whites.

Moving to the flight deck after a whistlestop tour inside the ship, the royal couple then spent time chatting with many members of HMS Bulwark’s ship’s company, including Executive Officer Commander Kevin Rowlands, aircrew, Royal Marines and sailors who had travelled ashore from their command and control ship out in the bay in a landing craft to greet the royal visitor.

The Princess Royal was in relaxed spirits, and the sailors who met her shared her delight in the outstanding performance of Team GB.

The couple also met several crew members of the Royal Navy patrol vessels HMS Tracker and HMS Smiter, soldiers from 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, Royal Marines and police who are serving together as one team to provide that extra layer of defensive strength should it be required to stop any disruption to the Games.

Fortunately, the operation has run very smoothly so far, allowing the Olympic athletes to take part in the sailing events without any disruption as a result of the comprehensive planning that took place to achieve the effective protective cover.

The Princess Royal is the British representative of the International Olympic Committee. She took part in London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and is now a member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

On Tuesday 7 August it was announced that Vice Admiral Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal is to be promoted to Admiral with effect from 15 August 2012 and styled in the Navy List as Admiral Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy.