Crowds of cheering and flag-waving people lined vantage points around BAE Systems’ Barrow-in-Furness shipyard to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Inside, hundreds of employees, some with their family, greeted the Royal couple during a tour of key submarine programme facilities. Smiling throughout, William and Kate, the Duchess wearing a red Armani coat and a Royal Navy dolphin brooch wedding gift, chatted to people as they passed.
After the Duchess was presented with a posy by Lucy Hunt, Personal Assistant to the Future Submarines Director, the Duke unveiled a plaque to open a new design office for the Successor deterrent submarine programme. Managing Director John Hudson said its engineers would be designing “one of the most complex man-made engineering structures”.
Prince William was presented, by design apprentice Will Daniels, with a mounted submarine section of pressure hull welding. As he left, the Duke quipped to submarine workers “You can get back to work now – your tea break’s over!”
In the New Assembly Shop, the Royal Party saw units under fabrication for the fifth Astute class submarine, Anson, before visiting Devonshire Dock Hall construction facility. There they saw Boat 3, Artful, due for launch later this year, and Boat 4, Audacious, as well as units for Anson.
They talked to many of the onlookers, receiving gifts including a cuddly hedgehog for the impending Royal baby. They also met a cross-section of personnel, including Principal Project Engineer Michelle Glasgow, whose grandfather Jim, then on the shipyard board, met the Queen at two Royal Barrow launches.
As Commodore-in-Chief Royal Navy Submarine Service, the Prince and his wife then met members of the crew for Artful and their families, receiving a Royal Navy babygrow from two-year-old Alfie Weaver and three-year-old Maisie Yeardley.
After the 2hr 30 minute visit, hosted by John Hudson and Director Submarines Rear Admiral Simon Lister, they flew from Walney Airfield to close Barrow shipyard’s latest Royal chapter.