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Mel C ‘proud’ to represent Liverpool at ceremony for Cunard ship Queen Anne

June 3rd, 2024

Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm and Olympic athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson represented Liverpool as the city was made the godparent of Cunard’s newest ship.

The Merseyside stars took to the stage at the city’s Pier Head on Monday afternoon for the official naming ceremony of Queen Anne, the 249th Cunard ship.

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed for thousands who gathered on the waterfront for the occasion.

The city of Liverpool was announced as the godparent of the ship as a recognition of the cruise line’s long-lasting bond with its “spiritual home”.

Cunard’s Queen Anne sailing into the Mersey

Cunard’s Queen Anne sailing into the Mersey (Peter Byrne/PA)

Chisholm, known as Mel C, was one of five women chosen to represent the city for the naming.

She said: “I’ve always been really proud to represent Liverpool around the world, obviously as a Spice Girl and as a solo artist, but being here today is really special because we’re celebrating the city and the heritage we have here in Liverpool, so it’s really lovely for me.

“I’ve got so much family here and generations of family that were so tied to the docks working here, so I feel very proud to be here.”

She was joined by heptathlete Johnson-Thompson, broadcaster Ngunan Adamu, restaurant entrepreneur Natalie Haywood and artistic director Jayne Casey.

They pulled a lever on the stage which released a 12-litre bottle of Champagne to smash against the side of the ship, which remained in the middle of the Mersey.

TV presenter Emma Willis, who hosted the ceremony along with husband, Busted star Matt Willis, said: “ Now, ships usually have a godparent to fulfil the role of blessing and naming the ship.

“Being a godparent is an incredibly important and time-honoured tradition in maritime culture, but, today, the role of godparent takes an unprecedented turn, as Cunard bestows that honour to the city of Liverpool.”

Bocelli closed the ceremony, accompanied by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Passengers look out from their cabins on the Queen AnnePassengers look out from their cabins on the Queen Anne

Passengers look out from their cabins on the Queen Anne ahead of the naming ceremony (Peter Byrne/PA)

The crowd were also treated to performances from Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and DJ Lauren Lo Sung.

Cunard’s first transatlantic crossing departed from Liverpool in July 1840 and the city was home to the company’s headquarters for 128 years.

Katie McAlister, president of Cunard, said: “Liverpool is the spiritual home of Cunard and we are therefore delighted, and feel it very fitting, that the city of Liverpool is the godparent to Queen Anne.

“It’s testament to the enduring relationship that connects Cunard and the city in which it was founded to the present day when we officially named our new ship on the Liverpool waterfront, in front of the Cunard Building.

“We are equally delighted to have our five chosen Liverpool icons represent the city in the ceremony. All remarkable in their own right, they have inspired generations and collectively capture the essence of the city that has shaped global culture.”

Andrew Lewis, chief executive of Liverpool City Council, said: “The naming ceremony was a magnificent showpiece that once again cast Liverpool into the limelight and we are so proud to be forever entwined with Queen Anne as she sails the world.

“We will always cherish our long-standing relationship with Cunard.”

The 113,000-tonne ship, which houses 3,000 guests and has 14 decks, set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton on May 3 and is stopping off in Liverpool during her maiden sailing around the British Isles.

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