The Prince spent 2 hours on board HMS Dragon off the Isle of Wight, while the Duchess visited HMS Illustrious at Portsmouth Naval Base, where navy personnel told her of their operational experiences.
During the Prince’s visit to HMS Dragon, he was briefed on the ship’s recent maritime security and counter-piracy operations in the Gulf, before being given a demonstration of the ship’s potent air defence capabilities in the operations room.
His Royal Highness then presented Nato Libya medals to Lieutenant Commander Claire Thompson and Engineering Technician James Smith, and long service and good conduct medals to Petty Officers Michael Delaney and Timothy Mills.
HMS Dragon’s commanding officer, Captain Iain Lower, said:
It was an honour for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to visit HMS Dragon. As the Royal Navy’s ‘Welsh’ ship the whole of the ship’s company enjoy a particularly strong bond with the city of Cardiff and the Welsh connection is something we are all very proud of.
A royal visit is always something to cherish and I know all my sailors had been looking forward to today. To have the Prince of Wales made it all the more special.
During the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit on board the helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious, she learned about the ship’s 5-month deployment to the Mediterranean and the Gulf, as well as the ship’s involvement in the disaster relief effort in the Philippines following the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.
Her Royal Highness, in her role as Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Medical Services, met 26 of the ship’s medics who provided a wide range of medical care to islanders affected by the devastation. The Duchess was also shown a casualty handling exercise and toured the medical facilities on board.
The royal couple were reunited at the end of the visit, which culminated in them both meeting 30 families on board Illustrious.
Illustrious’ commanding officer, Captain Mike Utley, said:
We were all thrilled to host the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall today and to demonstrate how the ship provides modern and effective medical support as a fundamental part of the United Kingdom’s military capabilities.
As Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Medical Services, the Duchess was particularly interested in how the Royal Navy promotes the health, fitness and well-being of the men and women in the naval service.
Their Royal Highnesses were also very keen to thank the families who provided us with the welcome moral support whilst we were helping with the relief effort in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. For many, it was a great opportunity to meet the royal couple for the first time.
Members of the crew were able to recount their experiences, while those that supported us so well were able to describe their feelings and emotions over the Christmas period as their loved ones were delivering vital aid to the people of the Philippines.