LONG BEACH, CA – No other ship of her era remains in public service, or is recognized around the world for its engineering and design advances, or continues to attract thousands of visitors each month as does the venerable Queen Mary. Launched by King George V and his consort Queen Mary on Scotland’s River Clyde in 1934, the world’s most advanced passenger ship of the time endured over two years of ‘fitting-out’ before making her debut on the world stage. It is estimated that over 60 million people have been personally ‘touched’ by the ship since that premiere sailing – or Maiden Voyage. That voyage that will be celebrated again by contemporary ship enthusiasts, VIPs and the public – May 26 through May 28, 2016.
Indeed, the Queen Mary has outlasted time. The ship’s legacy, historical worth and cultural influences continue to impress over a million on-board visitors each year. To commemorate the ship’s eight-decades of star performances the BBC, BBC Four, Smithsonian Channel and Scottish Television Productions have co-produced a new hour-long documentary that is set for global distribution coordinated with the 80th Anniversary of the Maiden Voyage. The documentary tells the ship’s story as interpreted by those whose lives were immutably changed by being aboard as a passenger, crew member or wartime ‘guest.’
The ship’s WWII service – and the ferrying of over 800,000 Allied personnel during those dark days – saw the glamor of her 1936 debut set aside in favor of navy gray. Her Blue Riband speed awards now served to outrun lurking Nazi U-boats, eager to seize the bounty Hitler had placed on her. That incomparable speed and the skills of her captains and crews assured that every voyage was safely completed, including those involving the 20th century’s most illustrious statesman, The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965). Known and revered for his political acumen, wartime leadership and personal courage – Churchill had a love affair with the Queen Mary that pre-dated her launch and continued until his passing.
NEW CHURCHILL EXHIBIT: As part of the 80th Anniversary of the Maiden Voyage, the Queen Mary will dedicate a new gallery space on the ship to host the first-ever exhibition of paintings by Sir Winston Churchill. The gallery will be dedicated May 26 by his great-grandson Randolph Churchill.
AN EVENING WITH CHURCHILL: In further celebration of the ship’s anniversary and the connection to Sir Winston, a gala dinner event – open to the public – is planned. Presenters will include Randolph Churchill and Lord Alan Watson (MP), a respected Churchill expert and author.
80TH MAIDEN VOYAGE PUBLIC DAY: The ship’s company, Randolph Churchill and others will officially recognize the Queen Mary’s 80th Anniversary – May 27. “The Queen Mary’s eighty years of public service includes 49 years as the iconic symbol for the City of Long Beach and its world-class harbor. The ship’s notoriety and global recognition have continued since her retirement from sea-duty. As we celebrate her legacy and cherish all who have sailed or worked on the ship – we are also looking forward to new and bright horizons – as the Queen Mary, the ship that has outlasted time, continues her career as the world’s most beloved ocean liner,” said Queen Mary General Manager, John Jenkins.
MAY 26: 5-6:30pm – VIP RECEPTION – RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
6-10pm – PUBLIC GALA EVENT – QUEEN’S SALON
MAY 27: (TIME TBD) – CHURCHILL PAINTINGS EXHIBIT DEDICATION